There was a Canadian girl who grew up scared and lonely. Years of abuse made her afraid to trust others. By thirty, Toni thought she would be alone forever, never having real friends, never knowing the closeness of family or true love. She decided to sacrifice her own happiness and live for her children from a broken relationship.
There was a Welsh boy who worked hard without a lot to show for it. Craig was a kind person, yet always found he was in relationships which took advantage of this kindness. Craig decided to put his children from a broken relationship before his own needs, resigning himself to being alone.
Little did Toni and Craig know that 4,129 miles across the ocean was the answer to their prayers. One faithful evening a simple introduction changed their lives forever. Instant messages became emails, emails became phone calls, and hours and hours of phone calls became the vacation of a lifetime.
As Craig walked out of the airport, Toni saw her future walking towards her. Their friendship grew into a deep and everlasting love; an unbreakable bond unlike anything Toni had ever thought possible for her. Receiving Toni’s fiancé visa in January 2005 was the happiest she had ever been in her life – until July 1, 2005, when they vowed to love one another for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, until death do them part. What God has brought together let no man put asunder. They thought their lives would now be perfect. They were wrong.
After years in the UK, they moved to Canada so Toni could finish University. Craig found being away from his children and aging parents too difficult. He returned home to find work and, by July 2012, everything was set for their life back in the UK. However, the immigration rules had changed. Craig’s wages did not meet the new income requirement. They were devastated.
On July 1, 2013, Craig & Toni’s eighth wedding anniversary, Toni awoke, sad and hopeless. But, photos and old letters helped her realize today was not a day to be sad. She picked up a pen and wrote to her beloved husband:
Craig, you have no idea exactly what you mean to me. Our relationship started as a friendship, the first true friendship I have ever had in my life. When I look at you and our eyes connect, you instantly fill my heart – my soul – with love. You make me feel whole. The love, friendship, and future you give me are more than I ever hoped or dreamed for. You selflessly became Dad to my children, treating them as if they were yours from day one, something my kids never had. You are everything to me: you are my best friend, my other half, my husband. You truly saved me and, for this, you are my hero. You have given me everything I could ever want and I will be yours forever and always. I love you eternally.