From being young and in love to facing a tragic fate in a matter of months, this couple went through it all. This is the story of their enduring love that gave them the courage to live on, no matter what!
“Elizabeth was stunningly beautiful, made more beautiful by the fact she had no ego,” Edward said. “She was not just someone I respected but someone who inspired me to be a better man, and in turn, inspired us to be better towards each other and to love each other unconditionally.”
“I knew I wanted this woman to be my wife and on one of those weekend trips, on a sunny day in October on a mountain peak, amongst purple wildflowers and butterflies, overlooking an ice blue lake, I asked her to spend the rest of her life with me,” he added.
In 2016, Edward started focusing on his career and they began saving money for a fall wedding. Elizabeth, a preschool teacher, had a beautiful voice and was a worship leader.
“I wanted to give Elizabeth a life that she deserved. A home filled with laughter and togetherness. Everything was moving along as natural as it felt it should have. Until I got a call from Elizabeth that changed everything,” Edward said.
During their Christmas break, Elizabeth complained of pain in her stomach. Her family had a history of fibroid growth, and she too had had fibroids removed once a few years before. As the fibroids return, the process needs to be repeated, so they thought the pain was related to recurring fibroids.
But unexpectedly, after tests at the hospital, doctors discovered a growth in her abdomen. A few weeks later, one Wednesday, the doctors came back with grave news.
Elizabeth rang up Edward and informed him that she had leiomyosarcoma, a type of muscle cancer that had originated from the lining of her uterus, and it had spread to her abdominal cavity—it was a stage 4 cancer.
“Nothing in life can prepare you for hearing the words ‘I have cancer’ said by someone you love,” Edward wrote.
“I rushed home, fighting back tears and thoughts of what she must be going through,” he said. “I met her in the kitchen and I held her as she cried into my shirt. My heart broke at the thought of her going through such pain and anxiety.”
“Elizabeth, my soulmate, my best friend, my partner, had stage 4 cancer and it was going to kill her.”
Edward was devastated. As Elizabeth was fighting to survive through chemo and radiation treatments, Edward stayed by her side. But Elizabeth was growing weaker by the day.
One day, her brother’s pastor casually brought up the subject of marriage. At first, they thought it was funny, but then it dawned on them that it was what they wanted.
On the fine day of April 16, 2016, Edward’s mother’s backyard was transformed into an amazing wedding venue.
Elizabeth looked radiant in her crown of roses and sprigs around her head. Carrying a matching bouquet, adorning a lacey-white 20s-style dress—she was smiling.
“We had no timeline for when things were to happen, it all unfolded organically. And on a perfect day in April in front of a handful of crying family members and friends, we became husband and wife. It was the best day of my life,” Edward said.
It’s a vision Edward will always treasure. But a few days later, Elizabeth became considerably weaker. She needed a wheelchair, and finally, Edward made arrangements for the hospice care. Edward said, “I was tired but I didn’t care, I loved her with everything I was.”
He thought about how he could honor his soulmate and shared with her that perhaps he should go on a journey through nature.
“It was during this time she made me promise I would be OK after she was gone,” he said.
“She stared off into the distance and then turned back to me and smiled. She told me, ‘I want you to go. You need to go. You need to be out there… Nature is your cathedral.’ I will never forget those words,” he added.
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This is a photo of one of the most powerful moments of my life. The story: When we found out that Liz had about a week left to live, she decided she wanted to have a luau. People kept coming into the room to visit with her and tell her how much she had impacted their lives (and there were a lot of visitors that day). At one point, there was a mini reunion of the worship team that Liz used to sing with. As they started playing music and singing, I started to tear up. It was beautiful. My wife looked at me and said, "Let it out, babe", followed by her pointing to the spot next to her for me to come sit. As I sat down, she reached out her skinny arms and placed her hands on my head and started to pray over me. I lost it. It was the most compelling moment I had ever experienced. My dying wife praying over me, that I would be strong and courageous and know that she will always love me and be here with me. Praying that God would protect my heart and to continue to reveal himself to me. It's a moment that shows just how wonderful and special Liz was. She was always thinking of others and making sure that they weren't troubled in anyway. At a time where some would turn inward with sadness and fear, she continued to pour out her love. It's a testament to her greatness and her faith in the lord. I love you so much, my soulmate, and I miss you terribly.
On June 24, 2016, Elizabeth passed away.
Edward recalled that fateful day, “I held her hand as I watched her die. She took her last breath and vanished into the air. I felt her soul leave her body.”
“At first, there was anguish and grief, but I felt her energy pass through me and a beautiful peace washed over me and filled my body. It was as if she was telling me, ‘I’m OK. I’m not in pain. It’s glorious here.’”
To fulfill his last promise, Edward took a journey with Elizabeth’s ashes stored in her jewelry box. For 12 weeks, traveling 19,000 miles, Edward had Elizabeth’s loving spirit by his side to guide him through his darkest hours.
“On the last day of our trip, I stood in the valley of Yosemite, taking in the air and the images of Half-dome and Angel falls. It was Thanksgiving Day.”
Eventually, Edward’s family planted a tree with Elizabeth’s ashes in the front yard of her home.
Edward said after his heartbreaking loss, he learned that “without the pain, happiness has no meaning.”
“Without the sadness, life would not have the beautiful and complex significance that it does. I feel blessed to have had the chance to love and to be loved by someone unconditionally,” he said.
He added, “Events and phenomena have led me to believe there is more to this life than the reality we make it out to be. There is something more. When we take our last breath is not the end of the story.”
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