Carol and Alex

How They Asked

I had always heard, from relatives and family friends that “you’ll just know” when you meet the love of your life. I never understood what they meant before I met Alex.

We first crossed paths in a very unlikely place… the music section of Craigslist! I had just moved to Denver, Colorado, and was hoping to expand my circle of friends in my new home. I had always loved to sing but had such terrible stage fright that I never performed.

My family and friends urged me to post some of my singing videos on the website in hopes that I might meet some fellow musicians who could help me overcome my fear of performing and maybe even become friends in the process. To my surprise, I received a handful of emails, but there was one that stuck out… and it was from Alex. He was new to the city, too, and had moved all the way from Pennsylvania to begin pursuing his doctorate at the University of Denver. He played the guitar and thought we could be a great musical match. We set up a coffee meeting for later that week and, to my surprise, he quickly became so much more to me than someone I’d meet up to make music with. There was an ease to our friendship that I hadn’t experienced before with anyone, and he created a safe space for me to grow as a musician and overcome my fears. We started performing at open mics and eventually gigs around Colorado together, and after many months of him hinting- we went from being close friends to dating.

The Proposal Lead Up:

A few weeks ago, Alex told me that he was taking us on a trip in November… but did not tell me where, when, or any details whatsoever! I just knew that I would be packing my bags at some point. It wasn’t until Thanksgiving Day, when we were home visiting his family for the holiday in Pennsylvania, that he told me he was taking me to my favorite part of the world… Martha’s Vineyard!

Backstory: I grew up visiting and actually living, for a brief amount of time when I was younger, on Nantucket Island. My Grandpa taught me to walk there (much too early, as my family loves to share) and the island holds so many special family memories. My parents honeymooned on Martha’s Vineyard and could never decide which island was their favorite… both were so special! We never visited Martha’s Vineyard as a family when I was little, but it was at the very top of my bucket list to go one day.

In 2004, my Mom passed away from biliary cancer. When she was diagnosed in the fall, the cancer was already too far developed for her to have a fair chance. It all happened so quickly… we were devastated. She was the epitome of kindness, grace, and fun! She was (and is) the most important influence in my life.

My parents loved the Beatles, so it was fitting that the lullaby she would sing to me every night was their song, “I Will”. It goes, “I’ll love you forever and forever, love you with all my heart. Love you whenever we’re together, love you when we’re apart…”. It was almost as if she knew! It always makes me feel close to her whenever I listen to it.

On our second day on the island, we had the absolute greatest day! We played with our pup then headed out to coffee and walked around the little community of Vineyard Haven. After that, we decided to drive along the coast to the town of Edgartown. While we were there, we went to the lighthouse and went shell collecting! My family had a fun tradition of bringing home a conch shell from every trip (if we could find one)… low and behold, I found a big one hiding in some seagrass on our walk out past the lighthouse! It couldn’t have been a better morning or afternoon, walking around with coffees, laughing, and shell collecting by the ocean.

The Proposal: Around 3, Alex suggested we make the drive to the other end of the island to go visit the infamous Aquinnah Cliffs. On the drive there, I noticed that every song that was coming on was either one of our favorites (we are so lucky to share a taste in music) or one that we had performed together at open mic nights. I excitedly wondered if he had something in a store, but I didn’t want to jump the gun on anything. After all, the day couldn’t possibly get better (or so I thought…). We pulled up to the Cliffs and made our way up to the overlook just as the sun was beginning to set. However, from where we were, you couldn’t make it down to the water. So, we decided to go off-roading and found a secluded area on Moshup Beach to watch the sunset together.

As we were walking, Alex grabbed my hand and began to pull out a letter from his shirt pocket. He asked if he could read me a letter he had written for me and my knees turned to jelly! He then pulled out his phone and hit the play button before asking me to put it up to my ear to listen to as he read the letter. He’d recorded himself singing and playing, “I Will” and wanted my Mom’s song to be the backtrack of our special moment. I burst into (happy) tears and listened in disbelief as he read the most special, romantic letter before getting down on one knee and popping the question. I don’t remember what happened after that- I think I momentarily blacked out from the sheer shock and overwhelming emotion of the moment, but I do remember shouting yes and giving him the biggest hug after!!! We then cried together and Facetimed our loved ones from the sand dunes above the beach as we watched the sun drop below the edge of the horizon, just as a full moon began to rise. It was like something out of a fairytale!

I had always thought that the moment would be bittersweet, knowing my Mom wouldn’t be there to share in it with us… but I had been wrong. She was there in every part of it! It was the most special moment of my life…it couldn’t have been more perfect. I’m so thankful to be engaged to my most cherished friend; someone who dearly loves and cherishes family as much as I do. We can’t wait to go back to our special place this spring!