Peter and Lisa Marshall renewed their vows in front of family and close friends on April 26 (Picture: Facebook/Oh Hello Alzheimer’s)A married couple had a second wedding after the husband – who has Alzheimer’s disease – forgot he was married to his wife and proposed to her all over again.
Peter Marshall, 56, and the love of his life Lisa, 54, hosted a second ceremony on April 26 in Connecticut after Peter’s dementia stripped him of memories of his August 2009 wedding day.
The pair have been married for 12 years but Peter was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2018, and has suffered with worsening memory loss in the years that have followed.
Then, in December last year while watching a wedding scene on TV with Peter, Lisa says Peter her asked her to marry him – not remembering that they were already married.
Peter proposed to Lisa again in December last year (Picture: Dan Brehant Photography/Facebook/Oh Hello Alzheimer’s)
The couple have been married since 2009 (Picture: Facebook/Oh Hello Alzheimer’s)‘I said “do what?”, and he pointed to the TV to the scene of this wedding and I said, “Do you want to get married?”. He said yes and had this huge grin on his face’, explained Lisa to NBC New York.
She added: ‘He doesn’t know that I’m his wife. I’m just his favorite person.
‘It’s been devastating, but I’ve done my best to stay positive and focus on one day at a time. My mantra has always been to have no regrets.’
Peter and Lisa used to live across the street from each other in the same Pennsylvania neighborhood and while they were friends to begin with, their relationship became romantic in 2001 after both had been divorced.
The two dated long-distance for eight years after Peter moved to Connecticut for work while Lisa stayed in Pennsylvania because for family reasons. But after Lisa’s youngest child left home to go to college, the couple finally decided to get married, with Lisa moving to Connecticut to live with Peter.
The wed on a beach wedding on the Caribbean island of Turks and Caicos in August 2009 and have been happily married ever since.
Peter was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2018 (Picture: Dan Brehant Photography/Facebook/Oh Hello Alzheimer’s)However, in 2017, Peter began having difficulties with his memory and he kept forgetting the odd word here and there. A year later, when Lisa took Peter to a neurologist for an answer, the diagnosis was early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
The illness affects people under the age of 65 and accounts for less than 10% of people who have Alzheimer’s.
Suffering with the disease, Peter had to quit his job in January 2019 due to worsening memory issues. The next year, Lisa also had to quit her job to become Peter’s full-time caregiver.
‘Before his diagnosis, I always thought that Alzheimer’s was an old person’s disease, now I know better’, Lisa said.
After Peter’s proposal in December he and Lisa decided to renew their wedding vows with the help of Lisa’s daughter, Sarah Brehant, who has a wedding planning business.
Sarah encouraged her mother to do it, offering to organize the entire ceremony.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Sarah said: ‘I knew that my stepdad, who I am very close with, was there through some of the toughest times of my life.
‘He means so much to me, and my mom is my best friend, so I was proud to be able to take on such an important role.’
The ceremony happened on April 26 and the couple renewed their vows in front of family and close friends. The wedding was officiated by dementia specialist Adrianna DeVivo, a licensed wedding officiant who had helped Lisa create a care plan for her husband.
Peter and Lisa were friends before their relationship turned romantic in 2001 (Picture: Dan Brehant Photography/Facebook/Oh Hello Alzheimer’s)Lisa added: ‘There wasn’t a dry eye, and I was over the moon. I hadn’t seen Peter that happy in a long time.’
Since their second wedding in April, Lisa has said that Peter’s condition has worsened with Peter requiring constant supervision. He now struggles with some basic daily activities, such as making the bed.
Lisa has said she knows her husband may need a long-term and specialist care at some point in the future.
‘One day at a time’, she said.
‘I don’t know who I am to him now, but I know that he definitely loves me and feels safe. When the bus brings him back home each day, we’ll sit on the porch for an hour and hold hands.
‘At the wedding he leaned in and he whispered in my ear, “thank you for staying”.’
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