​Fifteen Years of Wedded Wisdom

Posted by Heather Krill in Life After Paralysis on June 23, 2022 # Relationships

Heather and Geoff weddingWhen Geoff and I married 15 years ago on June 23, I think we both had a good perspective about the challenges and gifts life together might bring. But after our engagement, we decided to do a cross-country road trip to see some of our National Parks, camp together, and make certain we could stand each other after thousands of miles trapped in a Honda Element. We traveled across the northern part, spending time in Michigan with Geoff’s Uncle Al, a WWII vet, and widow, who lived on a lovely lake, where his daughter Lisa now lives. Uncle Al road-tripped to heaven many years ago now, but next weekend, we will return for a family reunion, something we have not been able to do for three summers due to Covid.

We love road trips, and that first time across the country we took in some sights for sure. I kept a journal; we took hundreds of pictures of so many great adventures: the Badlands, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, especially. There was the time I left Geoff for dead when a buffalo crossed paths with us along a hiking trail near a geothermal pond. I “took off,” Geoff likes to tell people until he and the buffalo decided confrontation was not necessary. We headed south from there, leaving Yosemite and the Redwood Forest for another trip. He also tells people that after camping in the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion canyons, respectively, I was like a horse headed for the barn. We zoomed across the southern states with very little exploration until we landed in Tennessee in search of Shiloh’s historic battlefield, where we would spend July 4.

From there, we went north, finishing up the journey with a tour of Bethel, CT, where Geoff spent most of his adolescence, and then Merrimack, NH, where I grew up. Like marriage, most of our road trips are solvable puzzles, equal parts adventure and challenge, equal parts disappointment and hope, the yin and yang of love. There is wedded wisdom to be found on the open road and in places we’ve never been before. Throwing kids in the mix on a road trip increase moments of stress-- like when we can’t find a bathroom for stretches of miles, and we need one; Geoff just uses his catheter and jokes about how jealous the rest of the family is must be.

Heather and GeoffOn our first big trip, we used AAA TripTiks, which I plan to order again just so the kids can follow along on a map, despite increased technology like Google maps. GPS technology may tell us when to turn and where there are gas stations, but paper maps help us to gain perspective of time and distance, with every flip of the page. We discuss with our kids how to look ahead, but not so far ahead that we lose sight of whatever cornfield, midwestern city, or landscape passes us by in real-time.

There, we will visit family and tell stories so that our kids’ history is enriched by those who were born before them. We are lucky to live close to each set of grandparents, and I think, by now, our children are old enough to appreciate the gift of a grandparent, let alone four of them who can come to their baseball games or ski races on any given day, unless traveling themselves. Geoff’s parents celebrated 54 years of marriage on June 15, and mine celebrated 53 on May 31.

They share their wisdom with us too, that all is never perfect, even when the conditions are great for traveling. I remember getting a flat tire somewhere in New Mexico or Texas, and we spent the day at a roadside auto repair, needing four new tires as ours were balding. With so many miles left, it seemed like the safest decision, even if the mechanic knew we were a captive audience. Geoff sat in his wheelchair, and the mechanic brought me out a lawn chair, where we sat in the shade of the roofline watching tumbleweeds blow across the road. I don’t remember the heat or discomfort, but I know we chatted the day away, probably making plans for the future we have since passed.

There will always be storms, accidents, traffic, and likely countless wrong turns, but we are most grateful for the road trips still ahead. I’d be lying if I said marriage was easy-- but here we are 15 years later, with two tweens, and thousands of miles of life between us.

Heather Ehrman Krill is a writer- wife- teacher-mom who lives in the White Mountains of NH with her husband, Geoff, a paraplegic and professional skier, and their two children, Carver and Greta who are 12 and 11 respectively. Please check out her novel True North, website www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.