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Man With Alzheimer's Disease Proposes To Wife Of 34 Years

Desmond Downs

A 68-year-old man who suffers from Alzheimer's disease has proposed to his wife of 34 years after he had forgotten they were already married.

Michael Joyce and his wife, Linda, 64, renewed their vows on January 20 in front of all their family and friends. Linda said tying the knot for the second time was the "happiest day" of her life.

The pair were in bed when he woke his wife up in the middle of the night to ask her to be his bride.

"He looked me straight in the eyes and stuttered: 'Will you marry me?' Of course I will, darling," Linda told Stuff.co.nz.

"You don't say, oh, we're already married. So, I said, of course I will, thinking he might not remember," Linda said.

While Linda didn't think Michael would remember the proposal, he surprised her the next day by asking her: "So, when are we doing this?"

With the possibility of it being the last chance for the couple to renew their vows, Linda put out a call for assistance on community website Neighbourly, where she was "blown away" by the responses she received. An overwhelming number of generous people offered to help organize the event - all for free.

Despite the short notice, an ordained minister and photographer Desmond Downs were booked with short notice for the ceremony on Saturday. Everything was ready to go.

"On the morning of the wedding, I was lying beside Michael when he opened his eyes, and his first words were: 'Today's the day,'" Linda said.    

"About 15 of our nearest and dearest friends of 30-plus years, and those whom Michael remembered, were in attendance," she added.

Michael was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010, followed by dysphasia shortly after, as he began having speech difficulty.  But his inability to put together full sentences didn't lessen the joyous occasion, as his vows were read aloud by the minister.  

Following the ceremony, the couple celebrated with bubbles, cake, and pizza, with the Flower of Scotland playing on bagpipes in the background.

Linda's cousin said she had to meet Michael, who was an electrician in the neighborhood.

"She said, you're gonna marry Mic Joyce. She was getting him over to fix her stove and it wasn't even broken!" the cousin said.

"I know it's cheesy, but it was definitely love at first sight," Linda said. "There's been a lot of sadness and a lot of frustration, and despite all the fogginess, today has been pure joy," Linda said.

Do you remember what made your wedding special?

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com