Mutually supportive through it all

Just Married

Jamie Gilpatrick and Leif Anderson

May 19, 2002|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,Sun Staff

Jamie Gilpatrick believes fate brought her and Leif Anderson together after rough times in both their lives.

Leif has lived with a painful illness called severe ulcerative colitis all his life and in 1999 he underwent the second of two major surgeries. In March 2000, he was still recovering when a friend insisted he go out for St. Patrick's Day.

"It had been a considerable amount of time since I'd been out," says Leif, 26. "I was still not really up to it." But he went, and that night at a bar in Cockeysville he met Jamie, who was celebrating her 30th birthday. Once they started talking, they didn't stop for hours. Their first date -- dinner and pool --went well, and on their second date, Jamie went to Leif's father's birthday party and met the family.

"On the third date, he told me he loved me," Jamie says. But, "I wouldn't admit it back for a while."

Jamie was hesitant, having been recently divorced after a yearlong separation. But soon she couldn't deny that she and Leif had a strong attraction to each other and had felt an instant sense of comfort with one another.

"He knows me better than I know myself," says Jamie, and as they became more serious, "we knew we were going to get married, it was a matter of when."

Soon, the two realized they were spending a lot of time and using a lot of mileage in their quest to spend every moment they could together. So Jamie moved from Baldwin, where she had been living with her parents for a while, and moved into Leif's apartment in his parents' home in Hereford. Then they started looking for a house of their own.

In July 2001, they found a ranch-style home in White Hall listed on the Internet and fell in love with it. In September they moved in and in November they set a date to get married.

Originally, Leif had wanted to have an elaborate proposal, but spending much of their money on the house seemed to rule out an engagement ring. Instead, they just told their families they were getting married. Then, on Christmas Eve, Leif surprised Jamie with a ring.

"She was a little speechless," Leif says.

Throughout their relationship, the two have supported one another. Leif continued to have health problems after they met and most recently, surgery on his back forced them to postpone the wedding from April to May. But Jamie helped him through it and wasn't discouraged. She says, "It was just part of the deal."

Says Leif, "Now I couldn't get through [the difficult times] without her beside me."

In turn, Leif , a computer programmer with Ellicott City-based CentreTEK, helps Jamie deal with the stress in her life, like when she decided to pursue a new career as a loan officer with Countrywide Home Loan in Cockeysville. "I am a worrier," says Jamie. "He is very good about keeping me calm."

She adds that Leif has learned to be more pragmatic because of his illness and, "He has taught me to slow down and enjoy life."

On May 4, Jamie and Leif were married in a small, outdoor ceremony at the home of friends in Phoenix. Jamie's parents prepared a buffet dinner for the reception, and Jamie and her sister made the wedding cake. A family friend provided the flowers and other friends took pictures and videotaped the day. The couple hired a disc jockey who played music for the guests to dance, even after chilly weather moved the party to the patio.

Now Leif is recovering from his back surgery and his health is better than ever. The two are enjoying fixing up their new home and spending time with their three dogs (Jamie had two and Leif had one when they met) and two new cats. And, they want to have children soon.

"I believe there was some other guiding force," says Jamie of having reached this time in their lives. "It was meant to happen."

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