Bernard and I met at Virginia State University while completing ROTC requirements in order to commission in to the United States Army. We were friends. We commissioned in 2012 and we both moved on with our military careers. He is a Military Police Officer and I am a Combat Engineer Officer. We reconnected in 2014 at our schools homecoming festival. We got to know each other on a more intimate level during the festival and we have been inseparable ever since. We are best friends and currently stationed at Fort Lenard Wood in Missouri.
In 2015 I was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. I’d have to say that this diagnosis was the biggest challenge we have faced and conquered together. We were long distance, and struggled to keep each other motivated and stress free. I thank Bernard for sticking by my side and always putting me and my well being first. He would often drive cross country just to see me for a few hours. It was very hard going through chemotherapy and treatments without him physically next to me. Between the two of us, I think he is the strongest. Since my diagnosis Bernard has kept it together for the both of us, enough for me to never notice that it would eat him alive not being able to be there with me every single minute of the day.
Bernard wants me to be stress free and happy. He encourages me and reminds me that time will pass and I would indeed beat cancer. I am sharing our story in the hopes that it will be a source of encouragement for other military couples who deal with long distance relationships as well. Long distance as a military couple is something you find often. We fall in love and make ultimate sacrifices to love our families from afar. It is extremely difficult and often times, peoples’ families and homes end up broken as a result of it. We want to show that with consistent love, encouragement, and real strength, you can make it through anything!
Special thanks to Monica for sharing her beautiful story with us. Happy Veterans Day to all of our military couples.
Story curated by Monica Rosario. IG @rosa_rioz