Kevin Walsh married his crush after she unexpectedly saved his life 10 years ago.
Kevin and Blake Walsh are about to mark their first year of marriage together in September—and it’s something neither of the lovebirds would have imagined as they spoke over the phone when Kevin contemplated suicide almost 10 years ago.
“I wrote a note, and I went to where I was going to do it,” Kevin tells PEOPLE of the moments leading up to the unexpected phone call from who would become his future wife. “I was probably between five to 10 seconds away from taking my own life.”
Kevin was then a 17-year-old high school senior in Chicago when he fell into an “earth-shattering” depression after feeling isolated from those around him. The loneliness led him to consider suicide, and when he was moments away from attempting it, Kevin says, an unknown number appeared on his vibrating flip-phone.
“I thought, if there’s a semblance of eternity, I cannot spend it wondering who was on the other end of that phone call,” Kevin says. “When I picked up and heard the voice, I knew it was her.”
On the other end was Blake, a friend Kevin met during a Michigan Bible camp after she surprised him by saying, “Black is a good color on you,” while they were at an archery range.
Since that sly comment, the two maintained a casual friendship but hadn’t spoken in a year on the day of the phone call. The pair caught up and had a pretty normal conversation by any standard—but it was something Kevin had longed for throughout his depression. To him, that phone call was a sign that someone cared, and it was exactly what he needed. Before they got off the phone, Kevin admitted to Blake that he was thinking of taking his life.
“Knowing his personality, he’s very analytical, and I knew if he had ended up at that point, he had taken all the steps to get there and he wasn’t doing it for attention,” Blake tells PEOPLE. “This was something he was going to do, and I’m very grateful that I picked up because if I hadn’t, he wouldn’t be here now.”
Kevin and Blake continued to talk in the years following their phone call and maintained their friendship despite dating other people (which often led to jealousy from their partners). After Blake experienced the breakup of a serious relationship, Kevin stepped in to support his friend in her time of need. Kevin eventually confessed his love and admiration for Blake, and he proposed in April 2016 with a ring containing a black diamond—an homage to the comment Blake made to him when they first met.
The two tied the knot on Sept. 17, 2016, about 10 years after the phone call that would unexpectantly bond the two friends.
Amazingly, it wasn’t until after they married that they discovered that Blake’s recollection of the phone call differed from Kevin’s. She says that it was Kevin who called her, which Kevin says wasn’t possible because he had a new phone and didn’t have her number. But since they hadn’t spoken in a year, he also hadn’t given his new number to Blake.
“I think both of our recollections are true,” Blake says. “A force must have intervened to connect us and make it happen.”
Kevin echoes Blake’s sentiments, though he is just as astonished by the revelation as she is.
“It’s completely unjustifiable how this could have happened,” he says. “It’s amazing.”
The couple wants others who feel depressed to remember to talk with people and to express their feelings.
“Talk to someone,” Blake says. “Saying things out loud gives it life, it lets you evaluate things in a different way than texting or writing. It applies a different layer of emotion.”
Kevin recently lost a close friend to suicide who hadn’t told friends and family about how he was feeling, and Kevin saw similarities in how he acted when he had the same thoughts.
“I think there is something to be said for speaking something outloud,” he says. “To talk to somebody, and to give somebody the opportunity to care about you, is something that could save your life.”
If you or someone you know needs support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.