Some love stories have the potential to change our lives. Some can help us heal our broken hearts. Some restore our faith and trust in this world. And some make us cry happy tears because they prove that love really does win.
This is that kind of love story.
Kevin Walsh of Indiana met his wife Blake when he was just 13 years old. In a moving post on Love What Matters yesterday, Walsh describes her as the prettiest girl he’d ever seen. While at summer camp together, Blake walked right up to him and started what would ultimately become a life-saving friendship.
“We chatted and became friends, exchanged AIM screen names (it was the time), and stayed in touch for a while,” he wrote in the post. “We fell off each other’s radar sometime in high school, but I can promise you that not a day went by that I didn’t think about that girl.”
Sadly, by Walsh’s senior year, life had taken a heartbreaking turn. With the mounting pressures and challenges of high school life, Walsh became overwhelmed with a depression so crippling it led him to consider suicide.
“I resolved to take my own life, wrote a note and went to where I planned to end things,” he continued in his post. But faith had much more in store for this young man.
Just seconds before he was about to end it all, Walsh’s phone rang. In a moment of desperation, he picked up – and heard Blake’s voice on the other end.
“I asked her what was up, and she said she just felt like she had to call me. At that point, it had been a year since we had spoken,” he recounts in the post. “Long story short, she pried, I spilled the beans, and she talked me out of it … She literally said, “What? Don’t do that.’ And that was that.”
Blake made him promise to call her the next day, which he agreed to. That evening, Walsh began writing down words he would eventually use in a marriage proposal to her a decade later.
“I couldn’t call her right back then and tell her, so I wrote my thoughts down,” Walsh tells Babble. “Over the years … I occasionally added to what I had initially written – ways she was important to me, memories I relished … It wasn’t until we got together and considered getting married that I looked at what I had written and said, ‘Holy crap, I think this is a proposal.’”
As you can imagine, the post went viral almost instantly, with over 48K likes on the Love What Matters Facebook page.
“We can’t express how surreal and humble it is for our story to be shared in this capacity,” he tells Babble.
The two remained friends through college and into their 20s, but an official relationship didn’t begin to bloom until early 2016 – almost 10 years after the serendipitous conversation. Blake was struggling with the heartache of a bad breakup and reached out to Walsh, who was a huge source of comfort to her. Their connection grew into love over the coming months, and culminated in a whirlwind engagement and wedding.
“We decided to get married in January, got engaged in the Swiss Alps in April, and got married September 17th. We skipped the dating phase,” Blake playfully shares.
As I said before, love really does win.
Walsh credits his wife for literally saving him at a time when he felt truly hopeless. The conversation they had not only helped him see what an incredible woman Blake is, but it showed him how important he was to someone.
“At that moment, when I had already let everything go [and was] this malleable mess of a human, she spoke four simple and unassuming words of reason, and it was like I just snapped out of it … Immediately, the idea of suicide sounded absurd,” he explains to Babble.
But not everyone is fortunate enough to have that same moment of clarity. According to the CDC, the suicide rate for boys ages 15 to 19 has increased by 30% from 2007 to 2015, and it has doubled for girls in the same age range. These alarming statistics are a humbling reminder to Walsh, who urges anyone suffering in secret to talk to someone about their problems. Having that tangible connection could mean all the difference in the life of a person who feels they have no way out.
This is something Walsh has taken to heart this past year, after recently dealing with the suicide of one of his best friends.
“I never shared [my] story with him, and if I’m being honest, part of me will always wonder if things would be different if I had,” he tells Babble. “He never told anyone that he was struggling, nor gave any indication of what he might do. To anyone who’s in that place – please, just tell someone. You might find that the moment you say what you’re thinking, you’ll realize it’s not what you want at all. Give someone the opportunity to care about you.”
Seeing how many people have been touched by their story, the couple now have a new goal to create a nonprofit that helps others going through what Walsh experienced. I can only assume by the unshakeable love these two have for each other that their work will be a vital addition to an issue needing much more visibility and understanding.