When Lilly Met Lucas – A Love Story Begins

 

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Me and Lilly (2014)

“No, I don’t want you to have luck,” Lilly said with sassy snark and a pretty pout.

Lucas gaped at her from her computer screen, in the Skype window.  He hadn’t expected that kind of an answer from his remark, “Hey, I’m going to go on my date now.  Wish me luck!”

Lucas finally said, “I’ve got to go, we’ll continue this later.  Goodbye!”

Lilly pressed the “End” button without saying goodbye in return.  She grumbled to herself.  “That floozy doesn’t deserve him.  I don’t want them to have fun and end up together.  I want…”  She stopped herself.

What did she want?  Why did she want this date to fail?  “Lucas is my friend,” she said aloud.  “I want him to be happy.  I want him…to be happy with me!  Oh my God I’m jealous!”  Her hand flew to her mouth.  “I don’t want him to date that other girl, I want him to date me!”  After over a year of friendship, she realized that her feelings had grown.

She threw herself down on her bed.  “I don’t want to date someone half way across the world!!”  Still pouting, she reviewed the past year mentally.  How she and Lucas had met on Facebook, in a photography group.  How he only ever had nice, upbeat things to say to everyone.  How, even when one of the group members was getting on her last nerve and she wanted nothing more than to chew out the nasty SOB, Lucas would listen, calm her down, and handle the matter with class.

Oh boy.  She had feelings for him, alright.  And it was a big ol’ crush.

She put the pillow over her face and screamed.  But then…

Maggie the cat swatted Lilly’s foot with a paw, as if to say, “Hey Human!  You alright?”

Or maybe it was, “I’m hungry.  Feed me.”  That’s usually Maggie’s message.

Lilly sat up so quickly that the cat meowed and skittered under the bed, which displeased the other cat crouching there, who hissed and ran from the room.  Their owner ignored them; she had bigger problems than feline sibling rivalry.

“I may have found my soulmate!” she said.  “I’ve been looking in all the wrong places: in the Marines, all over Dallas, and now—when I wasn’t even looking!—I found him online.  So what if he lives halfway around the world?  There’s Skype, and airplanes, and…who wouldn’t move for True Love?!”

Humming to herself, she went back to the computer to continue editing photographs, which is what she was doing before Lucas called.

Suddenly, she stopped.  She had been humming one of her favorite songs: Marry Me by Train.  “Marry me!  Today and every day.  Marry me!  If I ever get the nerve to say Hello in this café, say you will…mmmm…say you will!”

She laughed at her own subconscious mind.  First things first: Lucas would get home in a couple of hours, tell her about his horrible date (well, she could hope that it was horrible, however selfish that was), and they could talk about whether they wanted to take their friendship to another level.

He would.  She just knew it.

Smiling, she clicked on the next picture to edit.  “Should I call Jules?” she asked Maggie, who had snuck back into the room and was sitting a safe distance away, on the edge of the desk.

“Mrowr,” Maggie answered.

“You’re right,” Lilly said.  “I’ll wait.  I’ll probably see her on Saturday, anyway.  That’s a few days away, will give me time to talk to Lucas and see where this goes.”

She had a feeling that she’d have good news to share with Jules.  Yes, she definitely would!

Cheers!

******

This is a flashback to a couple of years ago.  A friend asked me to write more about Lilly and Lucas, and make it into a book.  What do you think?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

My Life

I cancelled my date this week because I was still in mourning.  What kind of first date would it be, if I were rambling about Lucas the whole night?  I’m sure that would go over well.

“Jules, tell me about yourself,” he’d say.

“Sure,” I’d answer, “I had this friend Lucas…”

“No,” he’d say, “Tell me about you.”

“Well, I’m pretty torn up about Lucas, and the fact that I can’t get to his funeral…”

You can see why this might not be the best First Date convo ever.

My weekend wasn’t a complete bummer.  I went to a vineyard with friends yesterday.  I’ll tell you all about it, and other California wineries, next week.  As for the move, well, that’s still up in the air.  I’m estimating a 70% chance that I’ll move in June.  Stay tuned for updates as I know more.

Cheers!

Lilly and Lucas – The End of The Love Story

 

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Lucas tried TexMex for the first time (my homemade enchiladas).

“How are you?” Lucas asked me.  Often.

“Well, let me tell you about this guy…” I would answer.  Often.

That’s just who I am.

When I finally got around to asking how he was, I would be humbled by the answer.

“At the hospital, doing dialysis.  I’m fine.  How’s Sally?” Lucas would redirect.

Why?  Because he’s a sweetheart.  Because he was truly, deeply, a self-less person.

I say, “was” because Lucas died on Wednesday.  That was yesterday; how is it that I heard the news over a day ago?  I’m still trying to process this.

Lucas and I only met in person once, in 2015, when he and Lilly visited Dallas.  They had a wedding reception to celebrate their love.  Lilly surprised us all by wearing her wedding dress; she had led us to believe that she didn’t have room in her suitcase for it!  Lucas hugged me like we were old friends; we had met on Skype, just like he had met Lilly.  We had messaged on Facebook.  Who cares that this was the first time that we stood face-to-face?  Lucas’s love wasn’t limited to people who were in the same room.

Lilly knew that Lucas had a chronic, terminal disease soon after she met him on Facebook.  At that time, she was in Dallas, Texas and he lived in Canberra, Australia.  He was very open about his medical issues.  I really loved his openness, and Lilly did, too.  His openness was part of what she fell in love with.  Anyway, his medical condition was such that he knew that he’s need an organ transplant within the next 10 years.  The heart wants what the heart wants.

And, Lilly knew that she could deal with hospitals.  She had been a photographer for Logan’s Legacy, a group of special people with huge hearts: they comfort grieving parents and take pictures of precious babies who never had a chance to experience the world.    Through this work, and seeing the parents who longed for even a few minutes with their children, Lilly understood that every moment is precious.  Even a few days with her beloved was worth any pain that she might experience.

And the prognosis for Lucas was at least 10 years; heck, with a transplant or two, he might outlive all of us.

Only, the doctors who said that, were wrong.  Lucas’s lungs were weak, and he applied for the transplant list last year.

And was denied.

His body was too weak for the operation and he might not survive it, the doctors said.  Plus, there aren’t enough organ donors.

Lucas could have curled up in a ball and lamented his fate.  Instead, he and Lilly set out on a quest to solicit more people to sign up for organ donation.  They volunteered to photograph anyone on the transplant list or who had transplants.  The plan was to compile the pictures into a coffee table book to raise funds for the cause.

But he was too sick.  He was in and out of the hospital.  He continued to ask how others were doing and to work as much as possible, whether at his day job nursing or his other job as photographer.  In every picture of him, whether taken by another photographer as a test shot or a selfie with his bride, he is smiling.  Rarely would he let the world know how much he was hurting.

Lilly tried to smile, too.  They were foster parents for kittens; they adopted a 3-legged dog; and they joked about how all the animals passed wind.

I can’t believe that vivacious young man is gone.  I can’t believe that the 10-year-minimum that he was supposed to have with Lilly, was cut so terribly short.  They had barely a year together as a married couple.

Even a day with one’s soul mate is worth any amount of pain, I’ve heard.  To have a year together, they were blessed.  And I would bet good money that Lilly would do it all over again.

You can read more about Lilly and Lucas (Mallie and Matt, to the rest of the world), in this article from a year ago (shared with permission from Mallie):  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-life/matt-and-mallie-taylor-to-hold-photoshoots-for-those-in-need-of-organ-donations-20160831-gr5ew5.html

If there is but one thing you get from this tragic love story, Lilly and Lucas would want it to be: Donate your organs.

For me, this story is also about carpe diem.  If you love someone, spend as much time with him/her as possible.  Savor the good times.  Laugh about cat farts in the bad times.  Smile as much as possible.  When you hurt, find a way to help others.

Lilly, I love you!

Cheers,

Jules

PS On Sunday, we will return to our regular programming.

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Everyone loves an Aussie Man!

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Lilly was a radiant bride!

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Lucas and me at the wedding reception.  (It had a Hawaiian theme, which is why he is wearing a lei.)