Sara and Kyle's Heartfelt Proposal in a Hospital Parking Lot
How We Met
Weeks of seeing the Match.com commercials finally got to me. I had broken up with my ex earlier in the summer of 2014 and figured, I might as well give online dating a try. I created a profile on November 2 and was just perusing the site; I was looking at profiles but wasn’t starting any conversations or liking anyone’s pictures. Two days later I received a notification that someone had liked my picture. I clicked on the profile and didn’t recognize the man who showed up because he had never show up in my search criteria (my age “requirement” was 32 or older and this guy was 30). But when I looked at his profile, I was immediately interested. He had this warm smile, was nicely dressed, and in my opinion, looked like a normal guy. As I looked at his other pictures, I knew he was a good guy. Pictures of him and his family filled his profile and we shared a lot of the same interests. I immediately showed my sister his profile and she said, “I love him.”
Being that he liked my picture but didn’t make any other move, I figured I’d email him. He liked my picture, so what’s the worst that could happen? He ignores my email? I typed up a quick email saying I was new to the site and listed 1 or 2 of the things we had in common and hit “send.” One paragraph emails quickly turned into longer messages. As it turned out, we visited the same vineyard when our families when to Italy a few summers ago, we knew a few of the same people, we were both trying to improve our golf game, and and we liked the same sports teams. After about a week of emails that kept getting longer and longer, he suggested we meet up for drinks at a restaurant not too far from both of us. On November 11, we met up and ended up having dinner and closing down the restaurant. That Saturday night, we did the same thing at another restaurant. A few weeks later, we ran a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot together and he met my family on Christmas, where he was an immediate hit due to the fact that he jumped right into the game of charades my extended family was playing. I met his family a few days after Christmas at his nephew’s birthday party, and after talking to his parents for only a few minutes, I immediately knew where he got his great traits from. We celebrated New Year’s together and a few days later, we made it official.
how they asked
We were on a walk one day when we talked about marriage. I had thought a fall wedding would be nice, and being that I had my phone with me, I checked the calendar. November 11, 2017 was going to fall on a Saturday, which would be 3 years to the day that we met. I mentioned that if we got engaged in the spring of 2016, we could probably make that work. Kyle was on board…or so I thought.
Just by looking at his Match profile and through our early emails, it was clear to me just how much Kyle’s family, especially his parents, meant to him, and once I met them I knew why. Kyle’s mom is one of the sweetest women you could ever hope to meet. A middle school Language Arts teacher, she’s incredibly kind and I know her never-ending patience was passed down to Kyle because he is one of the most patient people I’ve ever met who never loses his cool. Kyle’s dad was the absolute best. Kind and loving, philanthropic and just an all-around great guy. You couldn’t help but love him and his stories. Before we met, Kyle’s dad had been diagnosed with cancer. Looking at him, you’d never know. He always had a smile on his face and never once did I hear him complain about his day-long treatments. This past summer we had received news that his cancer had spread, but once again, you’d never know it from his positive attitude and the fact that he never once took pity on himself. Before going back into treatment, he enjoyed his summer; he played golf, he went to Italy with Kyle’s mom and their good friends, he coached his grandson’s football team.
The day after our first anniversary, Kyle’s dad was admitted to the hospital. We spent every free minute we had in his hospital room. Friends of his came from all over to see their buddy: flying in from California, driving from Delaware daily, changing Thanksgiving plans and driving up from South Carolina. There was always a lot of laughter in the room and always plenty of food. The days he was in the hospital were a rollercoaster of emotions. We thought he’d be able to come home, but then we’d be told he couldn’t. After a few days, Kyle’s family got the news that no one wants to hear. There was really nothing that could be done except to make his dad comfortable in his final few days.
I cried to Kyle in the parking lot that night. It wasn’t fair. I had only known his dad for a year, but I loved him like my own father and it wasn’t fair that his dad wasn’t going to be there to see us get married or hold our babies or be there for the small moments in life. After a few minutes of me sobbing, he just hugged me and I laughed…”What’s wrong with this picture?” I asked. “Why are you the one comforting me?” I knew the roles should be reversed, but he had been keeping it together the past few days for his mom and his siblings.
I had no idea that the very next night, his dad would be able to see one of the biggest milestones of our relationship.
My cousin’s wedding was the next day, Saturday, November 21. I told Kyle I would go for a little bit and then come back to the hospital. When I got back to the hospital I ended up parking in front of the hospital, not in the parking garage as we had normally done for the past 2 weeks. I told Kyle when I walked in and a few minutes later I got a text message from Kyle saying, “Sara is not parked in the garage, she’s right out front, I’ll do it there.” “Do what?” I thought to myself. A proposal had crossed my mind for about 5 seconds, but I knew that there was no way. He didn’t have enough saved after only starting a new job a few months ago, he couldn’t have talked to my parents already…it was just not happening. I took a glance at the pocket of his jeans and saw his phone was in his one pocket and his wallet was in the other. No ring. I didn’t know what “it” was, so I just forgot about it. When I showed Kyle the text, he played it totally cool, admitting that he was supposed to send it to his brother-in-law who was also at the hospital with us.
Later that night, we said our goodbyes to his dad and the other visitors and Kyle walked me to my car. We were standing at my car in the front of the hospital just hugging when he started to talk. He mentioned something about me being a part of his family without officially being part of it and he slowly released himself from my hug. “I was going to do this next Saturday, but…” he said, and started to reach into his jacket pocket and pulled out a box.
He then proceeded to get down on his left knee (something that he and his brother-in-law researched and practiced in the hospital while I was at the wedding that night) and said what I’m sure were some really beautiful words (I heard the first line and then didn’t hear anything else) and asked me to marry him. I had always thought that when the time came, I would be a blubbering mess, but I was in complete and utter shock that I didn’t even cry! I just covered my mouth and I think I said “Is this really happening?!” Of course, I said yes! Being that it was so late, there wasn’t one person outside the hospital, so it was an extremely private and intimate moment. Unfortunately, this meant that it wasn’t captured…except on security cameras. We were lucky enough to have the hospital provide us a still photo of when we were embracing after he proposed (the actual proposal was too dark to see).
For some reason, I had both of my hands out, so he went for my right hand. I laughed and told him “Wrong hand.” He attempted to slide on the ring, but it didn’t quite fit (more on that below) and then proceeded to “come clean about a few things.” This proposal had been in the works for 5 weeks! I was having dinner with my college roommate one night in October when Kyle told me he was going to a Kung-Fu movie festival with his brother-in-law, but really, he went and talked to my parents. The next day, while I was at a softball game, I thought he was going to watch football with his best friend. Nope. He went and picked up my sister from work and took her, his sister and her husband into the city to pick out the ring. They celebrated with brunch and champagne after (“We had so much fun!” my sister later told me. “Too bad you couldn’t have been with us!”). A week after that, he took his dad back into the city to pick up the ring. He brought it home and made sure it was secured in his sock drawer which was “locked” with a piece of Scotch tape, so he’d know if it was disturbed.
The original plan was to propose at “Thanksgiving 2.0,” which was a post-Thanksgiving celebration held at his sister’s house the Saturday after Thanksgiving. My parents and sister and her fiancé were going to be there along with Kyle’s parents and siblings and their families and in-laws. He had planned for a photographer to come and take pictures and was in the process of making signs and stringing up lights in the backyard. Once Kyle knew his dad’s prognosis was getting worse, he decided to bump up the proposal. He called my mom on Saturday afternoon and told her the new plan of proposing that night and she responded with a resounding “YES!” My parents had been at the hospital visiting Kyle’s dad earlier in the day and they had wanted Kyle’s dad to know we were engaged.
We made our way back into the hospital as a newly engaged couple to tell his dad the news. We walked into the room where Kyle’s sister and aunt were sleeping, but once they saw us, they jumped right out of their chairs because they knew what was happening. Kyle then walked over to his dad and gently woke him up to tell him the good news. His dad smiled. I was on the other side of the bed and I flashed him my new ring and said, “You’re stuck with me now.” and he laughed and quietly said, “Oh, no!” and fell back asleep. The next day we went back to the hospital and spent a good amount of our time at the hospital. When we left on Sunday night, I whispered into his dad’s ear that he was my favorite father-in-law. He let out a little laugh and said “For tonight.” I said, “Nope! Forever!” I told him that I loved him and we left for the night.
The next night, Kyle’s dad peacefully passed away, surrounded by our family.
There are no words to convey the sadness that comes with his passing. He was loved by so many (his funeral service was standing-room only) and our lives won’t be the same without him. There are also no words for how thankful Kyle and I are that he got to see us get engaged.
We contacted the hospital to see if they’d be able to get us a copy of the security tape of the proposal and along the way we were put in touch with the hospital’s PR coordinator. She interviewed us and loved our story. The local newspaper picked it up and we were interviewed and asked to reenact the proposal, so luckily we have some photos and a video of our reenactment of the big night.
I told Kyle that Morristown Medical Center had never crossed my mind as a place where we’d get engaged, but it’s our own unique story that not many people could say that have and I wouldn’t change it for the world.