Life is fragile. But what finally makes us realize this—poor health, a life-changing event or, say, love? For two couples, the answer is all of the above.
In September 2012, Pamela* was hospitalized for a genetic heart disorder. Due to her health, Pamela and her fiancé, George*, put their wedding plans on hold. But after a cardiac surgery and a stroke, Pamela was getting progressively worse. On December 6, Pamela and George decided it was time to wed. The date? December 7— only 24 hours away.
Pamela's occupational therapist, Janina Czuba, originally of Macon, was up for the challenge. Czuba and other ICU nurses made sure Pamela had flowers, cake, a song, a dress that covered her tubes, and a day to remember.
"The whole thing was pretty impressive," said Czuba. "Her fiancé bought her new white slippers with grips on the bottom and her aunt brought her a blue necklace."
And on December 7, approximately 300 guests rose from their seats in the hospital atrium in honor of the bride. She entered in a radiant white gown and silver shawl with roses cradled in her arms. Her hair and makeup had been done for the first time in months. And at the front of the room stood the groom … in tears.
Not only was this the first time in months that Pamela had her hair and makeup done, but also it was the first time in six months that she stood up alone.
"We practiced 30 minutes before the wedding on how to stand still," said Czuba. "And she did it. I was on the verge of tears."
Czuba stood by Pamela's side during the ceremony to help stabilize her, and it was in that moment that Czuba realized how fragile life really is.
"While I was helping her stand up I watched how her fiancé looked into her eyes," said Czuba. "It made me realize not to take anything in life for granted."
At the time, Czuba was planning her own wedding to her fiancé Bryan Goodman.
"She only had a day to plan her wedding and it turned out more beautiful that we could have imagined," said Czuba. "It made me realize I shouldn't stress. I let go"
And on January 12, 2013, Czuba stood by her groom at the Mesa Arizona Temple to be wed.
"Time is just too precious to waste," said Czuba. "These things really make you realize how important the people you love are instead of things."
*Names of the patient and husband have been changed due to HIPAA privacy laws