He only sees her smile

Jamaica Gleaner - - FEATURE - Ta­mara Bai­ley/ Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com

WHEN CHANICE Tay­lor and Kevin Graham met in a chat room 11 years ago, they were not quite sure how things would un­fold, es­pe­cially be­cause they were both in dif­fer­ent re­la­tion­ships and dis­tance stood tall be­tween them.

But fate would have it that th­ese two would be­come one, de­spite the odds.

“I am from Manch­ester and Kevin is from St Thomas, but at the time we met in the chat room, he was work­ing in West­more­land. On my birth­day in 2008, I was at the hos­pi­tal and he called to say he was in Man­dev­ille. I thought he was ly­ing – I wasn’t ex­pect­ing him to be here and it was the first time that I would be see­ing him.”

The Gra­hams said that they used a chat room called J-Smart that did not af­ford them the abil­ity to share photos. How­ever, Kevin knew what to ex­pect when he came be­cause Chanice was very open with him from the on­set.

“Mind you, by the time we met up, we were both sin­gle. I told him every­thing: I told him I was wheelchair­bound and he knows about my con­di­tion. I have spina bi­fida. I was ba­si­cally born with my spine open. Doc­tors closed it but my legs don’t work. They say I am paral­ysed from my waist down, and I lost a leg due to poor cir­cu­la­tion.”


Mes­merised by her per­son­al­ity and charm, a smit­ten Kevin found re­turn­ing to West­more­land that day to be one of the hard­est things.

“He was re­ally sweet and he bought me a gift; a beau­ti­ful watch and a twin teddy bear that I guessed rep­re­sented us,” beamed Chanice.

“Fol­low up dates were ev­ery other Fri­day. I came up ev­ery other Fri­day to see her and then go back home, or go back to work be­cause I worked as a se­cu­rity of­fi­cer at San­dals (ho­tel) at the time,” Kevin added.

Even­tu­ally, Kevin made the de­ci­sion to quit his job and move to Manch­ester to be with his love.

“He wasn’t work­ing for four long months, but he made a sac­ri­fice for me. None of my other re­la­tion­ships were like this. In the past, I was lied to and cheated on. When I met Kevin and I saw all the ef­fort that he put into mak­ing this re­la­tion­ship work, trav­el­ling from so far each time, wait­ing hours for a bus to load, and know­ing my con­di­tion, he could have de­cided not to meet me, and af­ter see­ing me he still didn’t take to the hills.”

Kevin told Fam­ily & Re­li­gion that he doesn’t know all the el­e­ments that re­ally pushed him to make th­ese huge steps, but he knew for sure that he loved Chanice’s smile and how sup­port­ive she was – at­tributes she still pos­sesses to this day.

Six months af­ter the meet up, Kevin asked Chanice to be his wife. Eight years later they got mar­ried.

“He asked me on the phone if I would marry him and I said, I would marry him one day. He said, ‘would you marry me now?’ and I hes­i­tantly said, yes, be­cause I wasn’t ex­pect­ing this. The fol­low­ing Fri­day, when he came up, he took me to a jewellery shop, mea­sured my fin­ger, bought a ring and popped the ques­tion right there, on one knee.”

The Gra­hams said that peo­ple have made rude re­marks about their union, but they never en­ter­tain those peo­ple.

“I have heard that I am rich that’s why he is with me. But if only peo­ple knew! I won’t lie though; we do get more com­pli­ments than we do in­sults.”

A lover of life with a bub­bly per­son­al­ity, Chanice is now hop­ing to get her cos­metic on­line busi­ness (Chan’s Hair and Cos­met­ics – Face­book) back on track and even get a job to help her hus­band, who is now only work­ing twice per week, with car­ing for their seven-year-old daugh­ter.

“Here’s to more date nights, more years with my mis­er­able (laugh­ing), but su­per-car­ing man; more years with our very sup­port­ive fam­ily. It’s not all happy happy for us – the bad will come – but we have learnt to just stick it out and be pa­tient with one an­other,” Chanice ended.


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