Michael Joyce's memory, and some of his speech, have been snatched by Alzheimer's. The disease is so advanced that he forgot he was married to his wife of 38 years. But he is in love with her, and he is also an honorable man, so he proposed to her on a recent morning. She said yes.
"I said, 'Of course I will,' thinking he might not remember," Linda Joyce, 64, told the New Zealand news site Stuff.
But the next morning, Michael Joyce, 68, woke up and asked her, "So, when are we doing this?" according to Stuff.
Linda Joyce turned to her neighborhood community website in Frankton, New Zealand, and asked whether anyone would be willing to marry them over the weekend. She began her query, "Amidst the often sad and frustrating times living with Alzheimer's … there is joy!"
"My adored Hubby of 38 years suffers from Alzheimer's/Disphasia. Two nights ago, out of the blue, with tear-filled eyes, he asked me to marry him!" she wrote. "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 responded enthusiastically, offering to help officiate, and photographer Desmond Downs volunteered to document the experience "just for the privilege of being there."
On their wedding morning, Linda Joyce said she wasn't sure he would remember, but he woke up and told his betrothed, "Today's the day," she told Stuff.
The couple, originally from Scotland, exchanged vows at a lake near their home as friends looked on and ducks waddled by. Then bagpipes played, and the newlyweds danced.
"There's been a lot of sadness and a lot of frustration," Linda Joyce said. "And despite all the fogginess, today has been pure joy."