‘I asked, ‘Are you okay?’ We were greeted with one line. ‘Twins. Congrats.’ We immediately hopped on a plane. We were told to spike their bottles with caffeine. There were roadblocks.’

“We found a surrogate. The doctor started to gush about how lovely she was! ‘You have to woo her and make sure she picks you guys!’ Communication was sparse. We were constantly checking emails. I’ll never forget my husband kneeling as he opened one eagerly awaited message. He stared at the computer screen, speechless.”

‘My husband bungee corded my kid to the backseat. Not kidding. She was 3 years old. I honestly didn’t believe it. But there she was, strapped in a makeshift five-point harness.’: Widow hilariously recalls memory of late husband

“He let me sleep in. Imagine my shock waking up at 10 a.m. to not a sound in the world. Not the pitter patter of little feet, not the tugging of my sheets followed by, ‘mom, mom, mom,’ not the sounds of cartoons. I yawned, threw my hair into a messy bun and made my way downstairs thinking I would find an empty house or sleeping angel children. I didn’t find that.”

‘I rose as normal and glanced at the clock. ‘Let me wake her and change her diaper.’ I drop to my knees. 911 operator: ‘Whats your emergency?’ I scream, ‘My baby’s not breathing!’

“I desperately breathe air into my child. Medics rush in. Suddenly, I hear voices, machines. I’m listening for that cry I know. Everything pauses. They wrap her in a soft white blanket, slowly walking towards me as if presenting a gift. I push back, pleading with tears. I beg the doctors to try just a little longer.”

‘A co-worker came up to me. ‘Half your face looks a little strange.’ I tried to respond, but couldn’t move my mouth to speak. My first thought was, ‘Am I having a stroke?’

“I rushed to the hospital. The pain was so bad I literally thought, ‘There’s no possible way I am going to survive this. A human being can’t survive this much pain.’ I was prescribed a copious amount of medication. When would I stop needing it? Never. I thought I would never get a chance to be a mom, but I didn’t want to give up my dream.”

‘Are you sick? Should I get tested?’ My first instinct was denial. ‘I’m not sick. If you want to get tested, do it. You don’t have it!’ I was confused. How could she even say that to me?! I was shocked!’

“My dad proceeded to tell me the illness could be passed down to me as well. I wanted to get tested right away. My dad urged me to take it slow. When I got married the next year and found out we were expecting our first child, I knew in my heart I needed to know. On a crisp spring morning, I took the test. That’s when I realized it.”

‘When we got the news death was coming soon, I was driving us home. I started crying, and couldn’t stop. He held me on the side of the interstate. Then HE took over driving.’: Widow recalls the ways late husband showed her ‘real love’

“Every time the hospice people asked if they could do anything for him, he would answer that he was only worried about me, his wife. I tried not to cry, because he wanted his last days to be happy and without tears. Then, I opened his work bag and found it.”

‘Life’s too short. Do yourself a favor and weed your circle. Let’s face it. Friends can break your heart, too.’: Woman explains importance of ‘eliminating toxic friendships’

“Eliminating toxic friendships is one of the hardest things about growing up. The realization that the bond you thought you had with someone is over is a hard one. But it’s not fair to you, or them, to surround yourself with anyone who makes you less than HAPPY. It’s okay to find the strength to let go.”

‘My boyfriend screwed the windows and doors shut while I was sleeping. I made a split-second decision to throw myself backwards out the window to get away.’: Woman escapes boyfriend in ‘meth-induced psychosis,’ gets clean in ‘trauma-based recovery’

“I woke up and realized something was wrong. I went out into the living room and the look on his face was that of a monster. I tried in vain to get away from him until I eventually found myself pinned between the bed and the wall. The police found him hours later with no recollection of what happened.”

‘She was HIV+ and we knew she was our daughter. Time stopped when we saw her. She was absolutely beautiful and perfect, but her oversized clothes hung loosely on her tiny frail body.’: Couple adopt HIV+ daughter, now pregnant with ‘miracle’ baby

“We were looking for a child with HIV. When we learned she was positive, we KNEW she was the one. She was 2 years old and only weighed 15 pounds. I started seeing a trauma counselor. James learned how to breathe in public again, knowing no one was coming after us. Then BAM – Morning sickness!”

‘I love you. It’s not your fault,’ my mom said, crying. I screamed, trying to keep her awake until paramedics reached her.’: Daughter says losing mother to suicide was ‘the most painful experience I’ve ever gone through’

“A friend of my mom said, ‘Look, your mom came to make December beautiful again.’ It’s so true. My daughter is the light of my life. It’s emotional raising a daughter without my own mother alive, but I understand now I would not have the beautiful life I have today if she hadn’t passed.”

‘He should get his affairs in order.’ My heart stopped. WHAT? I immediately broke down. My biggest fear and worst nightmare had come true. ‘I don’t want to put you all through this,’ he said.’: Wife loses husband after his brain tumor returns

“I was at home when I got a call from my husband. He was at the hospital, and then he said the 4 words I never expected to hear. ‘The tumor came back.’ My heart pounded. ‘Okay, what now? What do we do?’ I was furiously texting my mother-in-law, ‘It’s not good.’ I just wanted it to stop. I couldn’t believe what was happening.”