Saturday mid-afternoon and I heard the car door slam. I went out to help my wife Sandy with the shopping.
“Sophia has just rung. The wedding is on! Adrian is not expected to live much past tomorrow. I have to go now!”
My wife Sandy is Deacon at Pilgrim Church in the City. She had been meeting with Sophia and Adrian as they planned their wedding. Adrian has a brain tumour. But despite this, they were determined to marry. They were soul-mates. Adrian had been in remission until now. The wedding was to have been Sunday, but it had to be now!
“I will come with you,” I said.
We dropped into Sandy’s office to pick up the Wedding Register and her stole and drove to the hospital. The family were gathering. Flowers were arriving. Sophia was in track pants and soccer top, busy organising us all.
We made our way to Adrian’s room in the Intensive Care Unit. Family and friends were gathering, many in tears. Adrian was propped up in bed connected to machines and drips, looking like an astronaut with his full-face oxygen mask.
Someone arrived with a box of champagne and plastic champagne flutes which were put on a little trolley provided by a male nurse, bemused at the proceedings. The nurse at her observation post looking into the room from the corridor was getting fidgety. Would I mind moving aside? – the corridor needed to be kept clear. I had decided to stand outside at the door opening, looking after the Marriage Register until it was needed.
Now about thirty people were in the room with Adrian. The nurse would just have to accept a little chaos for a while. Sandy was at Adrian’s side. I felt so proud of her and a church that allows her to place the well being of people before ceremony. The situation demanded she drop much of what they had so carefully planned. Much would need to be impromptu.
“She’s coming!” someone said from the far end of the corridor, then hurried down to find a vantage point. How could Sophia have had time to change into her wedding gown? Someone started “La la lala…” and instantly everyone was la-la-ing “Here Comes the Bride”!
She was a bit late of course! But as the lala’s began to wane I saw her appear at the end of the corridor and, taking on the role of conductor in the doorway, I wound them up again. The bridesmaids came first in plain clothes, carrying beautiful posies, then Sophia in her trackydacks and a posie of white roses!
Sandy kept the ceremony heartfelt and simple . They made their vows, signed the documents and friends took photos of the happy couple as we all saluted them with champagne. There were lots of hugs and tears. We all joked that Adrian had to be the only guy ever to be married with no clothes on!
Postscript. By Monday, to his doctors’ amazement, Adrian’s situation had improved enough for him to be transferred to a general ward, without need of oxygen. Meanwhile the wedding party had had photos taken of themselves, all dressed up in their wedding gear, transferred to a digital photo-frame, and placed at his bedside – with the promise that, when he was well enough, he could be added to the photos!
This would have to be one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever attended.