The Following was written by my wife, Sara Golden.
The winter of 2012/2013 was the most challenging time of my life. My mother Amy, who had been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma about 2 years prior, was in her last weeks of life. She was in her warm and loving home in Westminster and we were surrounded by our amazing friends and family. The space that we created for her was one of love, life, laughter, and community. It was the most beautiful end of life that I could have imagined for her.
One of the challenges that I struggled with during this time was still being able to feel, act, and play like a 27 year old single woman. It was a strange place to be in. I felt ready to date and to contribute to a loving and supportive relationship, but I was in the middle of a very significant and difficult life event and was very doubtful that I would be able to find someone who could accept this. I remember discussing this predicament with a councilor who my family was working with who told me something along the lines of, “You will find a man who will love you and want to be with you even during this time of your life”, and in my head I was like, “blah, blah, blah. Yeah. Right.” Eventually, after a few failed attempts and what I thought was confirmation of my previous statement, I decided that it just wasn’t going to work to date until after a “reasonable time” had passed.
But I still had to act my age! And take care of myself, and get out of my mom’s house to play and have fun. To my luck, one of my best friends, sister really, was there for me in such an amazing way that it’s hard to even put into words. Miss Lizzie Foster went above and beyond the call of duty to take care of me and my mom and to keep me feeling like the 27 year old woman that I was.
And so our story goes, that on one VERY VERY VERY cold night in January 2013, I asked Lizzie to take me out for a night away from the house and the responsibility to have fun and be as irresponsible as we could reasonably be! And to us this meant heading to Pearl Street in Boulder for a night of bars and drinks, laughter and fun. We hit the town with our friend Julie to enjoy each other’s company and have fun. After a few drinks, we were in fun/silly mode and were heading to The Buff (a popular bar). At the entrance we came across a group of 3 guys (Enter Ben) who were also lamenting about the frigid temperature and deciding where to go. In our playfulness we started chatting/flirting all huddled in a circle to attempt to stay warm. This didn’t last long, and we decided to go in but the guys were heading elsewhere to meet some friends so headed away – with promises of hoping to see us later.
After the fact I know that Ben was going to meet the lovely Alex and Jill Guest and that upon finding them he promptly told them, “sorry guys, I gotta go…Girls…” or something along those lines!
And so, in the basement of The Pub, Ben found me.
But instead of this being the typical boy meets girl in bar scenario I immediately knew he was different. He was so kind, funny, sweet, respectful, and so interested in what I had to say. He made me feel at ease and special at the same time. The 6 of us continued to hang out together and had WAY too much fun!
He asked me out on a date a few days after and I immediately said yes. Mom was in her last days at this point and was speaking very few words. But on the evening of our date after getting ready in her bathroom, I went to her bed and told her about my date with Ben. I remember telling her about how excited I was and about Ben but that I really just felt silly for allowing myself to attempt to have a normal date at this point. But, she opened her eyes, looked at me and said with the biggest smile, “Going for love is never silly”. That was the last advice she gave me.
We went to dinner at Salt on Pearl Street, and I decided that I was going to tell Ben about my mom that night as I knew I needed to be honest with him early on – just in case he did run for the hills I wanted it to be sooner rather than later so I kept waiting for the most “appropriate” time to gently tell my date that my mom was dying. Then during dinner, I asked Ben a question about his family, which lead to him telling me about losing his dad a few years prior…and in my head I was like “WHAT!?!?! Is this really happening right now?” So after he had finished his story, I told him about mom. He didn’t blink an eye. Instead he offered me such kind words of support and understanding. And then we just went on enjoying our date and he went on treating me like any regular 27 year old single woman on a first date.
At the end of the date when he asked when we could see each other again I was floored. I just couldn’t believe that I had just happened across this man who was not only not phased by the fact that my mom was dying but still wanted to see me and was acting normal after I told him! And treating me the same as he likely would have had I not told him. And so now I can say, the rest was history!
Ben and I often joke that my mom and his dad had something to do with our meeting. That our encounter that cold night seemed far too fateful to just call chance. Instead we like to picture Amy and Ken sitting on a porch eating peanut M&Ms, giggling and clapping their hands together in their success.
But fate or chance aside, I found the most amazing man. He will stand by me no matter what and support me through whatever challenges life brings us. I love him with all of my heart. He is truly incredible.