A Valentine Love Story

The “Day of Love” was called Saint Valentine’s Day in honor of a Christian Martyr who refused to give up his faith.

Over the years it has been shortened to Valentine’s Day. I wonder how much thought we actually give to love; it’s all about cards, candy and commercialism. Still, there are stories that reach in and grab your heart during the season of love, this is one:

“This can’t work,” Jake Willers admitted.

He was on assignment for National Geographic when he met Alyson Andreasen, who was a volunteer for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Something clicked as they worked together on a documentary about black bears. And then…

In a matter of days it was over. Jake had to return home to England and get ready for a job in South Africa. Jake and Alyson were edgy as they said good-bye, hesitant words spilled out about their feelings. They tried but…

E-mails would not be enough to keep them together. It hurt to let go, yet they both knew it had to be. Until…

The impossible happened. Alyson received a call from Jake’s producer to ask if she would work on a project in Peru. You betcha, she had not been able to forget Jake.

“I couldn’t get him out of my head,” she sighed. He seemed to kind of check off every quality I hoped to find in a perfect man.” And yet…

It was not exactly cozy when they connected again. A year had passed; the dark-haired beauty had gone about her studies for a doctorate, the rugged 36yr. old tried to bury himself in work. Sooo…

They stayed busy. Up before dawn, hiking to a 6 x 8 foot watch station, aaand eight-hour shifts observing macaws together. This situation had to change things. It certainly did, only not in the way they expected. It happened one day when…

Jake and Alyson were alone at the camp. Their thoughts were all over the place; Alyson’s slammed her right in the heart. Omg, “I just started realizing he really is what I thought. He really is the perfect person.” Jake couldn’t stand the swirling in his head and asked if she wanted to go for a canoe ride. This ended up being a good thing…

And a bad thing. They had borrowed a hollowed out tree trunk from the locals and it sank a mile down the river. By the time the rowers dragged it to shore they were hot, sweaty and irritated.

“We ended up in a super, super dense jungle,” Jake recalled. “We had to find a way to pick our way back to camp.” With tempers already out of sorts, this caused a collision. They couldn’t agree on which way to go. Their eyes clashed and…

It was a scene straight out of a movie. “We just started kissing,” Jake blurted, “and in that instant it started bucketing down rain. So we got under a banana plant, under this giant leaf, and kept kissing.”

The lovers kept their romance private. It was heaven, until…

Three weeks later when they had to say good-bye. Jake could still feel the pain, “It was like having your heart ripped from your ribcage.” He had to go back to work and Alyson had to return to her studies.

Jake stared into her eyes when they parted, “Whatever happens, I’m coming back for you. We’ll make this work.”

He called one week later and asked if he could come to visit. Ooh yes, she couldn’t wait. Jake had left the campsite for better reception to make the call. On the way back he stumbled over a dead Impala. His flashlight struck the gazelle’s eyes, Jake froze…

“Suddenly, I got petrified,” he swore. “I realized it had just been killed. Here I am a wildlife expert and I almost got killed because I was so daft in love.”

In the next five months, Jake would see Alyson four times; she flew to see him twice. This could not go on. Jake didn’t want to interfere with Alyson’s studies, so he resigned from the wildlife park and moved to Carson City in June 2007.

“I don’t regret it for one second,” he said. “It was the hardest decision of my life, but it was the easiest decision to make. If it would have been for any other reason, it would have been crazy tough. But knowing why I was doing it made it easy. We couldn’t spend our lives apart.”

They married on July 14, 2008 at Lake Tahoe. And yet…

All was not bliss.

A married man now, Jake wanted to stay with National Geographic. He also loved his job, didn’t want to give it up. Yet delays in getting a visa ended his career. Jake took it in stride. He had the most important thing in life.

The happy couple set up house on Stephanie Lane. Alyson still pursues her doctorate; she and Jake are working on a project where they track and tag mountain lions. Jake is also ready to start a production company.

“We don’t take it for granted,” Alyson tells people. “It’s an amazing life of adventure we’re leading right now. We’re privileged to be able to … and I’m doing it with the man of my dreams.”

Be still my heart…

May Your Glass Always Be Half Full

News from Home: David and I were married 35yrs on Valentine’s Day 2011. Today, Feb.20, is six months since he passed away. The love that we shared will carry me until we are together again.

About Maxi

Hi … I'm Maxi, a retiree with an addiction. I have quit: raising kids, cleaning house, cooking, doing laundry—there is no end the list—everything is done on "have to." The addiction? Writing to my last breath. blessings ~ maxi
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1 Response to A Valentine Love Story

  1. This is an incredible story about true love, along with careers that brought two lives together as one.
    I have known Alyson for approximately 30 years. As an athlete, she always was a role model for the best attitude , along with work ethic. After retiring from competitive gymnastics, she transitioned into being a competitive coach, along with becoming a highly rated official. I feel extremely honored to have had so many years of her professional skills.
    To read this brought tears of joy to my eyes. I am touched to know she has found success in life, and her career.


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