Watching someone you love suffer with Alzheimer’s is heartbreaking – especially if it gets to the point when they forget key parts of your life together.
But for one sufferer, his love for his wife has proved endless – even after forgetting they’re married.
Michael Joyce, 68, was diagnosed with the disease in 2010, and his loyal wife of 34 years, Linda, 64, has remained his biggest supporter throughout. However, just a week ago, he forgot he was married at all.
According to Mail Online, he walked out to find his wife, appearing “confused”, then proceeded to pop the question for a second time – prompting her to plan a last minute vow renewal ceremony for them on Saturday.
Posting an advert asking for help on community website Neighbourly, she received an overwhelming response, and managed to plan a beautiful ceremony at Hamilton Lake in New Zealand, just a week later.
According to the site, Michael then remembered their second engagement every day for the whole week, which his wife described as “absolutely unbelievable”.
“Michael has sifted through his jumbled mind in asking me to marry him and then to remember it for six days is obviously a blessing which was meant to be,” she told the site. “I already loved and adored him, now I am in absolute awe of him.”
Linda managed to enlist the help of marriage celebrant and photographer Desmond Downs, and she invited around 15 of their closest friends and family who Michael still remembered. She told the site he woke up on Saturday morning and said: “Today’s the day”.
The couple said their vows, with Michael – who struggles with his speech – having help from a celebrant. Then, according to New Zealand website Stuff, they were serenaded by bagpipes performing ‘Flower of Scotland’.
“There’s been a lot of sadness and a lot of frustration, and despite all the fogginess, today has been pure joy,” she told the site.
Research into Alzheimer’s Disease has increased in recent decades with many of the big pharmaceutical companies racing to find a cure. There have been multiple breakthroughs in small studies, but researchers are yet to find a cure.
An estimated 44 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. That number is expected to blow out to 135 million people by 2050.
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