Wedding Wish Came True for Hospice Patient and His Wife
It’s the simple things in life that are the most precious. They aren’t possessions, or money, or power. They are the experiences that we get to share with the people we love.
This perspective comes sharply into focus when one is approaching the end of life. So it did for Michael C. of Claremont, New Hampshire, who realized that time was running out for him to fulfill a wish he had had for a very long time.
Michael and his beloved wife Bernice, both devout Christians, had been married 32 years ago by a justice of the peace. Michael never said it out loud before, but he’d always wished he could give Bernice the wedding of their dreams, hoping to one day renew their wedding vows in a church.
At the time, Michael was living at home as a patient of BAYADA Hospice in Brattleboro, VT. When it became evident that he was not going to live to celebrate their next anniversary, Michael told Bernice and his hospice clinicians about his wish for a church wedding. It didn’t take long before the Vermont Brattleboro Hospice (VZH) team jumped into action. VZH Licensed Social Worker Jessica Bernard talked with Michael and set the wheels in motion for a church ceremony, reception, and honeymoon in Maine. Flowers were donated for the celebration, and a local bakery provided a three-tiered wedding cake, paid for by the BAYADA Foundation.
Extended family and BAYADA staff gathered at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Charlestown, New Hampshire, and Spiritual Care Chaplain Jerry Kylik from BAYADA Hospice performed the ceremony. The team took lots of photos and created a keepsake album for the family. Bernice looked radiant while Michael stood tall and thin—wobbling a bit, supported by their youngest son—looking through tears at his wife.
“Love isn’t when you are young and everything’s easy,” he said. “True love is when you are sick and they’re still with you, when you are poor or out of work and they are still with you. That’s love. That’s my Bernice.”
Their renewal of vows was a wish-come-true and the most joyous experience for the bride and groom, along with the four generations of loved ones who were blessed to be able to experience it with them.
Though Michael has since passed, this beautiful memory continues to live on—especially for Bernice.
Today, she shares, “I'm so grateful for the support we got from Mike's team. I don't know what we would have done without you. Please thank everyone for their care."