ANNA, Texas — Every time Detra Thompson thought about marrying the love of her life, she was overcome with the same crippling fear.
“Before I would even walk down the aisle, I would lose my best friend,” she said.
Detra met Darrell 22 years ago while working together at the Winn Dixie in Arlington.
“There was just something special about him,” Thompson said.
They were never more than friends, though, and eventually went their separate ways.
Detra moved out of town. Like Darrell, she got married, had kids and then divorced.
They’d completely lost touch.
Until, Detra moved back and was driving through the old neighborhood when she saw Darrell from her car.
She pulled over immediately.
After reconnecting, they started dating and things got pretty serious.
They were planning to get married when Darrell found out he might never make it to the altar.
He felt unusual one day and went to the hospital for a checkup. Doctors discovered he had bradycardia, a dangerously slow heartbeat.
Without a transplant, he didn’t have long to live.
“Before he left here I was determined to marry my friend, my soul mate,” Thompson said. “Very determined.”
Unfortunately, every time they tried to schedule a wedding, Darrell ended up back in the hospital. Tired of waiting, Detra decided she couldn’t be Darrell’s fiancée any longer.
She went to the hospital and became his wife.
Darrell had just gotten out of a coma when they got married in the ICU.
It’s one of the last memories Detra has of Darrell in the hospital because soon after getting his bride, he got his heart.
Today, Darrell is healthy and his heart couldn’t love Detra any more.
“To the moon and back,” he said. “That’s our phrase. To the moon and back.”
For Detra, this Valentine’s Day isn’t about flowers or gifts. Instead it’s about celebrating what she’s already got.
“We have each other,” she said. “At the end of the day that’s what makes it Valentine’s Day for me cause he is still here with me.”
That’s all you need to love someone to the moon and back.