Bob and Gloria Farley’s unique love story began more than four decades ago.
“Gloria and I were a blind date. She was blind, I was the date,” Bob jokes. “She knocked my socks off… I knew long before she did that I was going to marry her.”
Not long after they first met, Bob left for the next 13 months to fight in the Vietnam War. “Bob and I fell in love a lot through love letters,” Gloria says.
On the back of those love letters, Bob always included the initials P.L.M.F., please love me forever. “Gloria was the only thing on my mind,” he says. “I said, ‘When I get back to the world, I’m going to spend the rest of my life with Gloria.'”
Bob and Gloria married at age 21 and had two children. That’s when they began to notice an all-too-common shift in their relationship.
“We had a solid marriage, but we were becoming too independent of each other. We were just sort of drifting away,” Gloria explains. “I think we could have gone down the road like everybody else and just said, ‘Hey, you know what? We don’t really have a whole lot in common.'”
Then, tragedy struck.
Bob was involved in a serious car accident that broke all his ribs, punctured both of his lungs and his heart, and left him in a coma for 32 days. Gloria, a trauma nurse, was terrified. “I knew he had the type of injuries that most people don’t live through,” she says.
When Bob woke from his coma, he didn’t recognize his wife or daughters. “He grabbed my hand and he said to me, ‘You’re my favorite nurse. You’re the only one that kisses me,'” Gloria recalls. “I realized, ‘Oh my gosh. He doesn’t know who I am.'”
“I was blank,” Bob says. “I was sitting in a wheelchair, wearing a diaper, drooling. I had to learn everything all over again.”
Slowly, Bob recovered over the next 10 years. Even though she often felt frightened and alone, Gloria was determined to help her husband. “Whatever it was that we had to do, we were going to march forward,” she says. “I believed in Bob that much.”
Bob was equally determined.
“When I married Bob, he really didn’t have much, but he had a heart,” Gloria says. “That’s the part of him that was still there. That was not lost. I saw that. And he fought hard to be a caring husband again.”
After the accident, he became much more involved with the family, going on camping trips, volunteering at school, making lunches and asking his wife every morning what he could do for her. “It was always my goal to get better because I wanted to be the husband I used to be for her and the children,” Bob says.
It made all the difference. “The fact that somebody cares enough to want to make things better — that’s when I knew we were going to be okay,” Gloria says.
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