Jamaica Gleaner / Mandeville, Manchester:
They met in 2005 while at university, but it wasn’t until 2015 that an Instagram message, six red roses and six white roses set the tone for a beautiful friendship that later blossomed into unconditional love.
Odale Mulgrave, a then full-time social work student and police officer, would frequent the on-campus media department where Grace Ann Lavasseur, a full-time mass communication student, worked part-time.
Though Odale would serve as a guest on the radio programmes with his wealth of knowledge and expertise as the Constabulary Communication Network liaison officer for the parish of Clarendon and Youth Ambassador of Jamaica to the United Nations, his eyes would be affixed on and his mind otherwise occupied by the beauty that was Grace Ann.
The two admired each other from afar and there was nothing but mere pleasantries when they saw each other, particularly because Grace Ann was in a relationship until 10 years later.
“We reconnected via Instagram; he sent me a request and we started talking from there. The connection was undeniable; we could not stop talking to each other. We started communicating on Wednesday evening of March 25, 2015 – we talked the entire night. The next morning, I went to work and told one of my coworkers about him – someone whose opinion I valued and I remember her saying, ‘Grace Ann, that is your husband’. Communication was effortless, he was very interesting, smart, had an excellent grasp of current affairs, along with a sense of purpose and direction for his life.”
In Odale’s words, he waited 10 years for a woman whose beauty shone from the inside.
“I was deeply attracted to Grace from the moment I began observing her at NCU (Northern Caribbean University). While no one can deny her absolute physical beauty, my attraction went far beyond that. She was never the loud, aggressive type; she spoke softly, dressed well, had a calm presence on campus. She was never the party type, and she demonstrated substance and reverence while being very down to earth. I remember admiring the manner in which she went about her work. she would light up any room with her smile while grasping the equipment with much focus and precision. It’s fair enough to say sometimes I was turned on by her working,” he said laughingly.
On the third day after their reconnection, Odale sent Grace Ann one dozen roses, six white and six red, with a card that said ‘ For 10 years I wanted to send you flowers, cheers to our friendship ‘, and that was the real beginning of the beginning.
The two became raw and open (with each other), sharing the stories of their lives – good and bad – and being drawn even closer by the attributes each possessed.
Fast forward to two years and three months later, when Odale knew he had to affix a ‘seal of ownership’ on this woman before someone else did.
Odale, who had moved to the Cayman Islands prior to their reconnection, had Grace Ann visit him, and with a unique set up, asked for her to spend the rest of her life with him.
“Odale and I reached the location in Grand Cayman that morning. When the time came, I was very happy to swim with dolphins. Odale went first to do the foot push, as he knew that he had to be on the shore to prepare everything for the big surprise. While I was racing on the water with the help of the dolphins, I saw my boyfriend on the shore with a sign asking me to marry him. When I got to the shore, Odale took my hand and showed me the engagement ring. Then the words just came out of his mouth, ‘Will you marry me?’ I was so overjoyed, I started to cry and of course I said, ‘Yes!’ It was a magical, unusual yet romantic experience. I later found out that Odale bought the ring six months after we reconnected.”
as fate would have it, Apple, as Grace Ann is affectionately called, became the apple of Odale’s eye.
A year later the two wed in a partially paramilitary-themed wedding at the White Witch Golf Course in Montego Bay.
“We had a magical wedding filled with blessings, happiness, love and laughter. It was truly a great feeling joining together as best friends; Grace was a beautiful and amazing bride. We have built our union on fun, open, honest communication and commitment.”
And while Grace Ann is learning how to deal the busy schedule of her husband who is a police officer at Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and adjunct lecturer at the International College of the Cayman Islands, and Odale is learning to accept that Grace Ann, a front desk supervisor at Wyndham Reef Resort, Cayman Islands, prefers to delay some tasks, the two are eager to expand their family with a baby girl and travel the world.
“We have a son, odale’s son, my step-son,” Grace Ann revealed.
“So we are eager to make Liana Gabriella Mulgrave” a jocund Odale chimed.
JAMAICA: An Instagram message and a dozen roses -The Mulgraves’ love story
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