A month after celebrating their daughter, Roiann’s tenth birthday, James suffered what Margaret thought to be a light stroke, leaving him ill and less like himself. They went to the doctor unexpectant of the news they were about to receive. James was diagnosed with cancer. The cancer metastasized into tumors on the brain. Three months later, on his fifty-sixth birthday, Margaret lost the love of her life and James lost his short but strong battle.
Margaret went on to love James the best she knew how. They had made it through three years together with only three months of memories. She now had thirty-five years of love, memories, laughter shared and two daughters together. Margaret knew someday that they would meet again.
Less than a year later, they were married. Soon after, they welcomed a sweet baby girl, Linda, into the world. The next twenty years were spent raising their daughter and growing their relationship, continuing to love each other through every hill and valley life put in front of them. Having thought they were settled with one child, grown and out of the house, Margaret and James learned that they would be blessed with another daughter, Roiann, at the ages of thirty-nine and forty-five.
Margaret and James, although a bit older this time around, never skipped a beat. They gave all their love and energy, not having Roiann know anything different. When Margaret would get upset or go on a tangent, James would just sit back, listen, loving her through any situation. Their children knew nothing but love between the two of them – setting an example of love, one could ever hope to find someday.
For the next three years, James’ carried Margaret’s picture with him – never losing hope in the love they found years before. While Margaret carried a locket he gave to her, close to her heart, with their pictures placed carefully inside. The thought of Margaret was what got James through the war, with one glimpse of her picture he found what he needed to carry on another day while witnessing all the poverty and tragedy around him.
On September 2, 1945 World War II had ended. The next day in the Philippines, where James was stationed, Japanese forces surrendered to the Allies. It was over, James could make his way home to Margaret. James often feared that after only spending a summer together that Margaret may forget about him. Three months of memories to get them through three years of separation by world divide. When he arrived home, she was there.
The summer of 1942, James Roy Burkey met a girl that forever changed his life. Margaret was fearless, genuine, and to James’ eye – every bit of beautiful. They grew up in the same town, minutes away from each other, never having met before that summer.
Margaret was fifteen, still a girl herself, but with no doubt an absolute lady. She carried herself gracefully, with a hint of sass, knowing exactly what she wanted in the world. Margaret had no idea she would meet the love of her life at such a young age. James was six years older than Margaret, nothing unheard of during the time. It took a bit for James to approach Margaret but when he did – her mind went blank, something that didn’t happen often. James was tall, dark and handsome – standing over 6’ tall, a dreamboat of a man. Some would have even considered him to be a gentle giant. They continued to spend every second that they could together, learning something new about each other with every moment that passed by. They fell in love.
Six months had gone by since the attack on Pearl Harbor. With no end of the war in sight, James decided to enlist.