Always Together, Now & Forever28 Mar 2018, Posted by Community in
Sometimes, our lives don’t go as planned.
We search for the one that makes our hearts skip a beat, and when we do finally find them, there’s no hesitation; we promise them forever. Plans are made, houses are built and babies are born. Such was the case for Vickie and Gerry.
But sometimes, forever is cut short.
The Reeds met when they were just ten years old. They had a strong, loving marriage, and it was so apparent to our Delaware staff how in love they were and how devoted Gerry was to his wife.
“The love they shared for one another permeated the room. The honesty and open communication between husband and wife truly represented what ‘I do’ means,” said Joni Newby, Director of Supportive Care.
Through the many ups and downs of life, the heartbreak of military deployments, and the happiness of bearing two children, Vickie and Gerry held tightly to the joy of their marriage. They were thrilled when they were able to buy a large piece of land in Delaware and build their dream home. It was a beautiful life. Some of their best days were when they were sitting outside on their back porch, enjoying a glass of wine and laughing and smiling over the events of the day.
And then, in 2009, cancer came. The battle began. It was a tough fight, but their marriage and love for each other was stronger. In fact, they grew even more in love as they faced this battle.
Our social worker, Katie Harp, had a close relationship with the family. “The love between them was like what you read about in fairy tales. Things weren’t always great, but they were great, because through it all, they were together,” said Katie.
The Reeds told our staff that they’d been married for 48.75 years and were looking forward to reaching that milestone 50th wedding anniversary.
Sadly, we knew Vickie was not going to make it to that wedding anniversary and we wanted to do something special for them. The idea for a vow renewal came about during music therapist Caitlyn William’s first session with the couple.
“I asked what their wedding song was, 48 years ago, and they immediately locked eyes and said, ‘Unchained Melody.’ When I left the room I just couldn’t get over how IN LOVE they still were with each other. It was as if they were still newlyweds. If I didn’t know any better, I wouldn’t have pegged them as having been married for 48 years, because it is so rare to see two people so madly in love with each other so far along into a relationship,” said Caitlyn.
“A party celebrating that kind of love just didn’t seem like enough, so I went back and asked, ‘How would you like to get married again?’ They were all for it!” she said.
“The vow renewal was a way of honoring a lifetime of love that cannot be destroyed by death,” said Joni.
“They touched all of our hearts as each member of our team could see the devotion and love they have for each other,” said Julia McLaughlin, RN Case manager. “We knew we had to give them a celebration to remember.”
We pulled it together in the family’s home, right in their living room. Chaplain Colleen Clark put together a beautiful ceremony, Caitlyn played their wedding song, and Nurse Julia took a video that their family could keep and watch for years to come.
Cancer may have robbed Mrs. Reed of her life but it could not dim the devotion and the love the two had for each other. While Mrs. Reed is no longer physically with her husband, the invisible string of love cannot be severed.