Day 100 Question 100:
What is something you have seen recently that has given you hope?
I MADE IT TO DAY 100!!!! Woooo Hooo!!! I have written every single day for the last 100 days. I am so proud of myself. I have written about the things I care about and in those 100 days I have watched myself grow and I have learned so much about what truly matters. The feelings I have about that cannot even be put into words. I have 265 more days to go so I probably should not get too excited…hahahaha!!!! I hope to surpass even the 365 when that day comes. I hope to one day (sooner than later) be able to pick up a book on the bookstore shelf, open it up and see my words sitting on the page.
I had a topic I was originally going to write about today but something just came up that I needed to write about. I am definitely going to clobber the topic I originally had set forth to write about, I am just going to push it back a day. This morning I was sitting on the couch where I work waiting for the girls to wake up from their night full of I hope magical dreams and a story came on the Today Show. The story was of a young couple that had fallen deeply in love. Their names are Bethany Schmidt and Ryan Smith. During their storybook romance, Ryan was diagnosed with stage 4 testicular cancer. He was only 24 years old. I have attached the story below for everyone to read.
I know this story sounds sad and depressing but in truth this story brings me a lot of hope. It breaks my heart that this young woman had to lose the love of her life but it warms my heart to know that she was able to find that person that made her puzzle complete. I am a positive person…an optimist and an opportunist but when it comes to relationships and dating I admit to being a pessimist. The way I experience life is through what I feel. When I am surrounded by couples in whatever the setting may be, there are so many times that I am unable to pick up on the love. I do not feel the connection between those two people. What I sense is people that have settled because they fear loneliness or people that have compromised or sacrificed a lot of who they are in order to follow a path they believe they are meant to follow (I am not judging because I have been that person before). I might be wrong. I will completely admit that. I have never lived one day in their lives, walking around in their shoes. I am just strictly going by my senses. When I watched the story of this couple, the love that was being portrayed was absolutely endless. These two were not just a couple, they were best friends that adored each other. Their lives became complete because it was as if they search for each other was over. They found each other…they were meant to be in each others lives. Their love seemed so simple and so natural and even though Bethany lost the love of her life, she was able to experience the truest form of love a person could…a love with no doubt….a natural love without question. That gives me hope. I have always stated that a man will not complete me and I do mean that….and I am a stubborn ass and I will not settle. This story gives me hope that a real, honest and genuine love between two people can really exist. Even through the struggles and the pain of his illness the love was always a simple thing…it was natural….it was never forced….it never came with rules or regulations or boundaries. I want this kind of love or I want no love at all (in the romantic sense obviously). Nowadays I find the whole dating seen to be so much work and people have such a bad attitude about it. People put so many limits on everything and want to play the field (and in my experience) so many people want just the physical aspect. Real love, kindness, and caring for another person should not be work. Everything when it comes to dating has become so unnatural (again, in my experience). I am tired of not being able to be me 100% because people have set up all of these do’s and don’ts in their lives. I want NO LIMITATIONS!!! Love has no limitations…it is a natural progression when it is right! Life is too short to limit yourself…I would much rather live a life of Oh well’s than What If’s. This story below proves to be what real love is and even if I never experience that kind of love, it makes me feel so happy to know that these two people (even if they are strangers) were able to. I am this person that just oozes love and oozes hope for myself and for the people around me. I get confused and I get all wrapped up in silly things sometimes but love is something that I never question because it comes in all of these forms and it is one of those things that never should be tweaked. True love is one of the most natural things in the world. If I never experience with a man (again, in a romantic sense), I will die happy knowing that I have found love in myself and have experienced love with my family and my friends and even experienced love with perfect strangers that have helped guide me through this jungle called life.
Below I have shared pictures of the couple on their special day as well as the entire story featured from the Today Show website. I have also included pictures of my parents and my sister and her family because these are the people that I love most. This story inspired me and gave me hope and after I watched it I couldn’t help but think about losing people in my life. This young girl lost the love of her life and although her heart aches and she probably feels a void she is still moving forward. She has great support from her family and she has so much more to look forward to in life. I could never be sure of what her and her husband spoke about before his passing but I would almost guarantee that he encouraged her to keep living her life and loving her life even after he was gone. As hard as it seems and as painful as some days probably seem, his wishes are probably what pushes her through. I found hope in knowing that after those that I love pass (my mom and dad mainly) that although I will be absolutely crushed, that I will be able to keep moving forward…especially because I know that is what they would want me to do. As stubborn as I can be, I never stop thinking about how much I want to make my parents proud…and even after they pass that same rule will still apply.
At 24, he hadn’t long to live … so they got married
Six weeks later, he died of rare cancer – but they had ‘gift no one can take away
Ryan Smith loved golf, airplanes, cooking, good wine, good beer and the Oregon Ducks. But more than anything else, he loved Bethany.
He met Bethany Schmidt in 2005 when they were both freshmen at the University of Oregon. They became inseparable — eating out together, visiting their families together, traveling to Europe together, cheering together at football games at Oregon’s Autzen Stadium.
The good times continued after Ryan and Bethany graduated in 2009. They rented a one-bedroom apartment near campus in Eugene and launched their careers — Ryan in finance, Bethany in graphic design. Then, in January 2011, the 23-year-olds received a blow.
Ryan learned he had a rare and particularly ruthless form of cancer. Bethany took time off work and stayed by Ryan’s side as he tried everything: three intensive chemotherapies, a major surgery in Los Angeles, lengthy and grueling hospital stays. But by November, doctors discontinued his treatment, and by early December, his organs began shutting down.
Bethany Schmidt and Ryan Smith met as freshmen at the University of Oregon and went on to graduate together in 2009. This photo was taken in June of that year.
The couple realized they had little time left to do what they wanted to do most of all: Get married. So, with the help of family members, friends and helpful strangers, they planned a stunning wedding in just three days. Their nuptials didn’t center on formalwear or wedding favors or other trappings that stealthily consume the thoughts of so many brides- and grooms-to-be. Instead, the focus was simple: Their love for each other, and their love for their family and friends.
Six weeks after the wedding, Ryan was gone.
“Looking back on it, there was more love in that room than I have ever experienced in my life,” Bethany Smith wrote in reflection on her wedding day.
“Although it was way too short, we were able to be married and celebrate our one-month anniversary, and that’s a gift no one can ever take away.”
‘I’ll always be there’
Ryan was the kind of guy who knew what he wanted in life and went for it. But he could behave like a master chess player at times, not letting on that he’d already worked out all his moves in advance.
“We were close friends for a while before we started dating,” Bethany recalled. “I really liked him and I couldn’t tell if he liked me. Then after we got together, I teased him and said, ‘If you liked me for so long, why didn’t you pursue me?’ He said, ‘I knew you’d come around.’ He knew he had it in the bag.”
Ryan Smith and Bethany Schmidt spent six weeks traveling through Europe together in the summer of 2007. Their itinerary included several stops in Germany as well as Barcelona, Rome, Florence, Zurich, Dublin, London, Provence and Paris, where this photo was taken.
On their one-year anniversary, Bethany gave Ryan a card that said, “You will not believe how glad I am to have met you.” Inside, she wrote:
“Wow — I had a feeling I might fall in love with you but I had no idea it would be like this. I am so, so glad that I met you and our lives have become so intertwined. You mean more to me than just a boyfriend, you are more than just my best friend. I realized last night — you are my home Ry, and nothing compares to that. I’ll always be there — I promise. I love you.”
They knew they’d marry someday, and they knew they wanted to have children someday — but they were in their early 20s, that stage of life when adventures beckon, responsibilities feel light and time feels limitless.
Then Ryan got sick. Everything stopped: Work, travel, plans for the future. Bethany took a hiatus from her job as a designer at the University of Oregon’s Duck Stores; her colleagues there donated their vacation time so she could care for Ryan and still receive a paycheck.
Last July — seven months after his diagnosis — Ryan and Bethany decided to take a small break and drive from Eugene to Bend, Ore., to visit their parents. As they neared Drake Park, a beautiful spot in downtown Bend with riverfront access, Ryan asked Bethany to pull over.
“He said he was feeling uncomfortable from the car ride and he needed some fresh air,” Bethany said. “We were walking along by the water, and all of a sudden he dropped down on one knee.”
Bethany realized what was happening when Ryan pulled a small box out of his pocket. She collapsed on both knees and joined him on the grass. He put the ring on her finger and told her she was his best friend. She cried and told him how much she wanted to marry him.
Story: When ‘till death do us part’ has added meaning
That night they went out to dinner at Ariana Restaurant — a bistro in Bend where they would end up getting married five months later. The restaurant’s co-owner and chef, Ariana Fernandez, would prove to be a godsend when Ryan’s health deteriorated rapidly.
“We set the date on a Thursday and we were married just three days later on Sunday,” Bethany recalled. “She helped with everything … I kept thanking her and thanking her and she said to me, ‘You’ve had to hear no so much this year. I just wanted to be able to say yes to anything you wanted.’”
‘It is what it is’
Ryan developed a virulent form of testicular cancer that manifested itself as a large tumor in his colon. Because he also had a rare refractory disease, the cancer was impervious to chemotherapy.
“He never, ever complained,” recalled Ryan’s mother, Carrie Smith. “We have all just marveled at this. He just never complained the entire time.”
Ryan’s father, Peter Smith, said he once tried to encourage his son to vent a little bit when he was sick.
“I thought it might be good for him,” he said. “But he just told me, ‘Dad, it is what it is.’ …
“I’ve said to my own siblings that Ryan is basically setting an example for us as we’re all getting older. If anything like this happens to us, we should look at Ryan and see how to handle this sort of thing with grace and courage.”