HUTTO — For Basil and Emily Seals, it was love at first plight.

Despite so many obstacles in their lives, from bankruptcy to debilitating car accidents to severe illness and even an extended absence after their first meeting, from the moment they laid eyes on each other in a chance meeting in Chattanooga, Tenn., both knew they were fated to be together.

“To sum it up, Emily is the love of my life,” Basil Seals said. “I knew it from the first time I saw her. I just knew I had to convince her I was the love of her life.”

They had met in a restaurant on a trip when Emily came to see her childhood friend at age 19 as her high school graduation present. She returned home to Blue Springs, Mo., figuring their meeting was fleeting.

“We hadn’t gotten seated, and here comes this guy with weird brown eyes that no one could resist. He asked if he could sit down, and I said, 'Go ahead,'” Emily Seals recalled. “He had this curly hair, thick eyelashes and puppy dog eyes. We talked all night long.

“Then, I never heard from him again.”

Or didn't until fate rejoined the pair a few years later when Emily returned to Chattanooga. They reconnected and married shortly thereafter. They moved to the Abilene area for Emily to take licensed vocational nursing classes and wound up in Austin, where she was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer about a year ago. She died Nov. 8. She was 39.

"Sadly, now my daughters and I have to restart again, only this time we won't have Emily there to help us," Basil Seals says now. "She was always the smart one, and she could always keep me in line when I try to make too big of plans. She kept me anchored and centered, and now I'm a little off. She kept us stable. Now it's up to us to make sure we stay the course."

Basil has had his own share of problems. Some 16 years ago after ending his shift as a truck driver, he flipped his car off a country road several times. A highway sign shattered the passenger window, stabbing him in the right shoulder and removing part of his skull.

He suffered nerve damage. He still has no feeling in his right pinkie and ring finger, and he was bed-ridden for a year. He had to use a wheelchair and says he had to retrain his nerves on his own because he couldn’t afford physical therapy.

With Emily’s terminal illness and other financial hardships, the family, which includes daughters Sabrina, 18, and Beth, 16, lost their dream home they were about to close on and moved into the home of dear friends Keith and Diana Guyett in Hutto. Basil and Emily turned the den into a makeshift bedroom.

“They are absolutely the best people we’ve ever met,” Basil, 41, says. “Our lives have been enriched by our relationships."

He also works out of the den as a customer relations representative for the Texas Department of Public Safety. “I’m the one people yell at when they have a problem with their driver’s license,” he says.

No matter, he says as he counts his blessings.

“We lost our home in May,” Basil Seals said before her death, “and unfortunately Emily is fighting a losing battle. Emily is absolutely the strongest person I’ve ever met. We’ve had just three arguments our whole lives. How many couples can say that? She’s the brains and the soul of our family. It’s just gonna tear me up when this is all done."

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