Most wedding vows include the line, “in sickness and in health,” but until you’ve actually experienced poor health it’s hard to comprehend just how meaningful these words truly are.
Anne Duncan of Scotland knows first-hand what it means to stand by your partner in sickness and in health. Anne married Bill twelve years ago, yet for the past nine of those years Bill has suffered from dementia. For the past year Bill did not even remember Anne’s name, but recently he had a breakthrough that restored her faith in the existence of true love.
“Something wonderful happened recently,” Anne wrote on Facebook. “My wonderful husband of 12 years, Bill, told me that he wanted to marry me.” Anne went on to explain that Bill told her that he “really, really liked me and wanted to be with me forever,” which touched her heart in more ways than once. Like many people with dementia Bill doesn’t use many words and finds it very difficult to express himself, but on this point he was very clear.
“It was so lovely,” she wrote. “Another memory to treasure. What I wasn’t prepared for was that he’d remember the next day. He wanted to know when we were getting married.”
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Anne couldn’t believe that Bill had kept the memory of his proposal, so she decided on the spot that she’d just go with it. She’d been planning to have some friends over on Saturday so she told them what was afoot, and before she knew it her friends and family were on board!
Anne’s daughter Andrea insisted that she go purchase a dress. “So I got a dress that afternoon, expecting to return it unworn. But Bill was still remembering on Friday, so together we bought a special cake from marks, my cousin Lynne gave me flowers for my hair, and Eva planned and prepared renewal of vows with a special bit for Bill so he felt we were getting married.”
Just two days after Bill had popped the question Anne’s friends and families had thrown together a beautiful backyard wedding in her garden. The weather cooperated and they all enjoyed a “stunning” day celebrating their love for the second time.
“It was the most wonderful day. We are so blessed to be supported by family and close friends who love us both and do everything they can to help Bill and I enjoy our lives together. I never dreamt we would ever renew our vows, but we really did. And it was wonderful. Bill was wonderful. And what is even more amazing is that 2 weeks later Bill still thinks he’s just married his new girlfriend and it makes him very happy.”
Everyone enjoyed the day, especially because it had all been Bill’s idea! Anne is a wonderful example of how we can care for people with dementia with love and grace. She ended her story with a message of hope for all who live with and love someone suffering from dementia.
“Please take from this that you can never assume that just because someone has advanced dementia with all the difficulties that presents, that they can’t still surprise you in the most unlikely ways. Bill has made me very happy yet again.”
Thank you for sharing this insight, Anne! We hope this story brings hope and peace to all who share their hearts with someone in Bill’s predicament. There’s never a bad time to tell someone you love them, but Bill’s timing could not have been more perfect. Congratulations to the happy couple — again!
Watch their sweet recommitment in the video below and share this story with someone today.
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