It’s been said that nothing worthwhile is ever easy, and Wanda and Marvin Brewington of Raleigh, North Carolina are certainly a testament to that. Married 47 years, the couple has been through it all, according to their daughter, Amber Robinson.
Robinson is a professional photographer based out of Raleigh, who runs her own business, Images by Amber. On November 30, she took to Instagram and Facebook to share gorgeous photos she recently took of her parents; and while the photos themselves are stunning, it’s the caption Robinson provided that has people reaching for tissues.
“These are my parents,” she writes, “married for 47 years, they have triumphed over cancer … twice. Have raised two successful daughters. They have been poor together and rich together. They have fed, sheltered, and advised countless lost souls. They love with out expectation and give freely, whatever it is they have to offer. I am SO proud to call them Mom and Dad.”
Robinson tells Babble that her parents met in 1968 when they were both students at Livingston College in Salisbury, North Carolina. After a perfectly imperfect courtship, they married in 1970 and struggled through 10 years of infertility before welcoming two daughters. In the years that followed, the couple endured much financial hardship, but never let the stress erode their loving relationship. And as Robinson later told Yahoo Lifestyle, they never gave up on each other.
Throughout her life, Robinson says her parents always freely demonstrated their affection for one another. But as a young child, she couldn’t quite appreciate it the way that she does now.
“I used to get grossed out by all of the PDA happening in our house,” she tells Babble. “It was no oddity to see my parents kissing, hugging or dancing around the house.”
But today, married and with kids of her own, Robinson says that she’s so grateful for the example her parents set of a healthy, loving relationship.
“They are the epitome of where I strive to be in my own marriage,” she says in her widely shared post, “and a constant reminder that a wedding is only a day, but a marriage is forever.” And even a lasting, wonderful marriage is not one without flaws or bumps in the road.
“My parents talked to us a lot about how difficult life can be,” she says, “but when you know ahead of time it’s not easy, you aren’t so prone to just throwing in the towel at the first threat of trouble.”
And the Brewingtons have had their fair share of trying times over the years, particularly when it comes to their health. Robinson shares that her dad is a two-time cancer survivor; he battled colon cancer in the ’90s and prostrate cancer just four years ago, all while suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, which has left him completely bed-ridden at times. But through it all, his wife Wanda has never left his side.
“She sacrificed whatever she needed to in order to make sure he stuck around [and] knew he was loved,” says Robinson. And in doing so, she taught her daughters that “stick-with-itness is always worth the work.”
Three years ago, Wanda experienced a devastating diagnosis of her own that tested the couple’s strength, when doctors discovered she had Parkinson’s Disease.
“[It] rocked her to the core,” Robinson shares, “[but] my dad hasn’t left her side. He is always encouraging her and when one of them is down, the other is right there ready to step in and pick up not only any slack, but carry the other as long and far as needed.”
“Poor health can really impact the state of a relationship,” she continues, “usually you see caregivers become resentful of the sacrifices that they are forces by their partner’s illness to take, but that has not been the case with my parents.”
Robinson shares that it’s tradition for her to photograph her parents for their annual holiday card. But this year, she encouraged them to make it even more special by glamming it up with professional hair and makeup, and fancy attire — an idea they wholeheartedly embraced.
“[They] acted like a newlywed couple laughing and giggling for the entire shoot,” says Robinson.
But she and her parents could have never imagined that their special photos would go viral, just 12 hours after they were posted. Between Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, Robinson estimates that the photos have now been shared over a million times. And she couldn’t be happier (or more humbled) that her parents’ real-life love story is touching the hearts of so many people worldwide.
She hopes that these photos and the story behind them will provide others with “a visual reminder that love always endures,” no matter what life throws at you.