In New Zealand, 68-year-old Michael Joyce fell in love with a woman named Linda. One recent morning, Michael proposed to her and she said yes. This may sound like a typical marriage proposal, but what makes this story different is that Michael and Linda have already been married for 38 years.
The Washington Post reports that in 2010, Michael was diagnosed with an advanced form of Alzheimer’s. It’s significantly impacted his memory and even his speech.
Last week, Linda told the Daily Mail that Michael approached her and appeared “particularly anxious.”
“I held his hands and asked him what was wrong. He looked me straight in the eyes and stuttered: ‘Will you marry me?”’
Joyce, 64, told Stuff that she felt that telling Michael that they were already married wasn’t the right call:
“You don’t say, ‘Oh, we’re already married. So, I said, ‘Of course I will,’ thinking he might not remember.”
However, the next day, Michael did. He asked her:
“So, when are we doing this?”
On her community website, Joyce crowdsourced for someone who might be interested in helping marry the couple off.
Amidst the often sad and frustrating times living with Alzheimer’s … there is joy! My adored Hubby of 38 years suffers from Alzheimer’s/Dysphasia. Two nights ago, out of the blue, with tear-filled eyes, he asked me to marry him! Michael had clearly forgotten we were already married but I absolutely went along with him and said I would be delighted to be his wife. In spite of his confused mind, he obviously knows and feels this is something he really wants to do … to Michael it will be our Wedding Ceremony and to our friends and myself, a truly precious memorable occasion.”
People in her community responded to the post, including Desmond Downs, a photographer in the area who offered to photograph the occasion free of charge.
The wedding was scheduled for the following weekend, and Linda was unsure if Michael would remember that their wedding was going to happen. But sure enough, when he woke up on the day of the wedding, he said to Linda, “Today’s the day.”
According to the Daily Mail, the couple got married near a lake, surrounded by their 15 closest friends. Linda said she was grateful:
“[t]o be standing amidst the beauty of the Hamilton Lake and our precious friends.”
She added, “[T]o re-marry the love of my life was the happiest day of my life.”