Dementia is a terrible disease which can affect anyone at any time, and especially vulnerable are the elderly. When the bouts of memory loss strike, the result is usually devastating for everyone involved.
When Donald and Margaret tied the knot all those years ago, it had been the most special day in both their lives. When, years later, Donald forgot it even happened, he decided to do something drastic about it. What he did, touched the hearts of tens of thousands of people across the world; but there was one special woman…
Neither Margaret nor Donald were young when they met, both having been married previously. However, for both of them, the second time round was far more special, and the couple were clearly very much in love. There was no denying the click between them and they had so much in common. Hobbies, interests, even music; This was a couple made in heaven.
26 Happy Years
They may have only been officially married for nine years, but this couple were together before that for a happy 17 years, making 26 years in total. They went through many trials and tribulations together, some good, some bad, but despite his health issues, Donald never ever forgot his love for his wife, even if he couldn’t remember the actual wedding day due to the dementia…
Sadly, Donald aged 86, suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, also known as dementia. While he keeps himself in good spirits for the most part, the illness has taken a toll on him, his wife, and their family and friends, some of whom Donald fails to remember. When the dementia got so bad that Donald forgot his wedding day, Margaret was crushed, but not as crushed as her poor husband.
Donald was the man back in his younger days, when he was at the prime of his life. Donald was a relatively famous local journalist and avid TV producer. He worked for both Radio Merseyside and Granada Studios during his auspicious career and was even a household name locally in Liverpool at one time…
Perhaps due to Donald’s age, or the fact he burned the candle at both ends when he was younger, or both, he now suffers from a number of medical issues and not least dementia. Donald is also in a wheelchair most of the time as he is disabled also has an eye condition called glaucoma which has left him partially sighted.
Easter was always a holiday that Donald and Margaret loved and took seriously. They were always sure to buy each other traditional Easter eggs in their favorite flavor when Easter came around, sharing the chocolate love with their children and grandchildren always. It was also Easter Sunday all those years ago when Donald proposed to his then-girlfriend. How tragic that he forgot all about it…
Sadly, Donald’s health of late has gone from bad to worse, as his loving wife laments about how she has all but lost hope for the future for Donald and her. Due to his age Donald is also hard of hearing and has other issues associated with old age. With his health deteriorating, Margaret herself felt the weight of the situation soon enough, and found herself in a depression.
Not wanting to be mean but the fact was that Donald was a handful for Margaret as he would have been for anyone tasked to care for him. Sure, he was always jovial and in good spirits, but his medical needs werenumerous, and that affected his wife. For her part, Margaret said, “I had been in a deep depression for a year and there just didn’t seem to be anything to look forward to.”
Despite the substantial and deep love that Margaret had for Donald daily life was a struggle as she tried to deal with her depression and anxiety issues. In her own words, “I was here (at the nursing home), every day, for five hours and I’d go back to this little retirement flat on my own and I thought, is this how it’s going to be?. And suddenly, things changed.”
No matter what medical issues Donald was dealing with, he always remained a romantic at heart. He bought flowers for his wife whenever he could and tried in his limited way to assist her around the house as best he could in his condition. Donald hated the fact he was a burden to his loving wife and decided he was going to do something drastic to show her just how much he still loved her…
Margaret always tried to remain sympathetic to her husband, even during difficult times. The hardest issue for her being that Donald would forget things, important things, and that hurt Margaret deeply. As she felt torn between wanting to run and remaining by Donald’s side, she prayed that he would show her something that could give her some hope. She loved him as much as Donald loved her.
Margaret would spend at least five hours a day at the Brookfield Nursing Home in West Kirby where Donald had been for a few months. She hated the fact that her husband was there and she hated going there, but she had no choice. However, Donald’s timing was perfect, just as Margaret was losing all hope…
It wasn’t his fault at all. Donald had simply lost track of how long he and Margaret had been married and missed their anniversary, which he never did. When his wife reminded him that day that they had been together for 26 years, Donald popped the question again, albeit not down on one knee this time round…
Round of Applause
Donald asked his wife to marry him, again, loudly enough that he attracted a round of applause from the other people in the common area of the nursing home on that day. Margaret hadn’t been so happy in years, as she recalled, “Donald asked me to marry him when I reminded him that we’d been together for 26 years and he said “will you marry me” and I, of course, said yes.”
The already married couple arranged for a renewal of vows ceremony to take place on May 4th. They chose that date as it was meaningful to them, but also as it was in the springtime and they hoped for good weather on their “big day.” Surrounded by about 50 family and friends, along with Donald’s carers, a beautiful ceremony took place which touched the hearts of everyone present.
Just So Happy
According to many accounts, Margaret seemed even happier at her second wedding than she did at her first. “It was just the happiest day. I can’t remember being so happy for a long time.” She said, adding, I walked in and Father Peter [the vicar who officiated at the ceremony] was there. I felt like a young bride.”…
Out of Depression
It may sound remarkable but such is the power of love, it seems. Margaret’s depression instantly became a thing of the past as she embraced her renewed vows with Donald. “We were supported by everyone here [at the nursing home]. I came out of this depression, and especially after Donald asked me to marry him again.” She said.
New Lease Of Life
Margaret said she feels very lucky to have Donald in her life, despite their difficult situation. He timed it just right when it came to his wife being at an all time low as she hit rock bottom. And who knows, perhaps Donald sensed something during his daily visits with his wife. But what he gave to Margaret really was a new lease of life as her depression faded into a distant memory…
The big day version 2.0 was special, not just for the married couple renewing their vows, but also for the guest who attended the event. David, one of Donald’s carers who shared in the celebrations said, “Everyone at Brookfield loved taking part in their special day. The music and prayerful atmosphere helped jog memories for so many of our residents, their families and the friends of Donald and Margaret.”
It’s also amazing that Donald clearly hasn’t lost his sense of humor despite his ailments and age. While Margaret was brimming with joy after the second wedding ceremony, saying, “It’s been wonderful and we’re going to keep good things happening now,” Donald had other things on his mind, and took the chance for a quip. When asked how he actually felt about renewing his vows with Margaret, Donald said, “Never again, we’ve done that!”