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Friday 14 November 2014

Tricia and Jim's Bermuda Wedding

It was quite a weekend! Faye flew through and created quite a mess; but on Monday as I drove out to St Peter's Church to meet Tricia and James, the sky was cloudless. I could see that Jim and Tricia really know how precious love is; that they truly appreciate each other, adore each other and are so grateful for every moment they have together. But I did not really understand quite how much until Tricia shared their story. Thank you for sharing your beautiful love story and for inviting me to capture your wedding.
 "We came in on the heels of Fay leaving the island and had a few hour delay to dock as the dockyard didn't have power. By the time we docked it was a lovely day. The weather remained beautiful the entire time we were there!  We were lucky. Friends were emailing us to make sure we were going to be leaving the island before Gonzalo. Our trip home saw choppy seas but was sunny and warm so we apparently hit the sweet spot between storms. The highlight of our trip was the ferry ride to St. Georges  - so many people wanted to take a picture with us (especially Jim in his kilt!) and wished us well. When we boarded the ferry after the wedding to return to Kings Wharf, we were greeted with the entire ferry full of people clapping. It was awesome!"

 I met Jim in 2008 in Annapolis, Maryland, where I have lived since I was 10 years old. He had been transferred there from California by his employer. Jim had recently separated from his first wife after his Parkinson's diagnosis in 2007. I remember walking into a popular restaurant downtown and seeing this handsome man with a profoundly sad look on his face. He was alone - both physically and spiritually. We were both there to see a local musician. We started chatting, struck up a friendship and continued meeting every Tuesday to see this musician play. Jim revealed his Parkinson's the second time we met, but at that point I didn't see any symptoms. We started dating casually but I was reserved as I too was recently separated. I guess we were both a bit "gun shy". Once I realized that I had strong feelings, I was concerned about what the future held for us dealing with what is basically a terminal illness. I considered ending it a few times simply because I didn't think I was strong enough to handle the challenges that were inevitably coming our way. Jim, on the other hand, was all in from the first moment - from day one he has worn his heart on his sleeve.  He started asking me to marry him after dating for just a few weeks. I just brushed it off. We traveled to Bermuda last year with friends and instantly fell in love with St. Peters Church - Jim kept saying how beautiful it would be for a wedding. He is tenacious! Even though he had talked about marriage many times, it was not until March 25 that he formally got down on one knee and presented me with a ring. He was so adorable there was no way I could say no. Of course there was no question where the wedding would be - Bermuda!

Jim has such a positive attitude about life and love, he fights every day to keep his disease at bay - yoga and jazzercise plus lots of walking and cooking/eating organic. He tries to do everything for me every day and he always says "One day I won't be able to do this - but today is not that day". When you live with someone that has a disease like Parkinson's, you realize how many struggles and challenges they have every day - brushing their teeth, tying shoe laces, buttoning a shirt, even simple tasks that we don't think about like climbing stairs. Everything is a personal victory. He hates to let anyone see him at weak moments. Ironically, having a terminal illness gives one a perspective that healthy people don't understand. Every day is a gift, every person you meet is a chance to change a life. You become focused on leaving a legacy behind. Some people choose to succumb to self pity, but others, Like Jim, finally find a purpose to their time on earth. His illness has made me take better care of myself as I know I will need all of my strength to care for both of us one day. This has also positively affected many of our friends and family. My attitude about marrying Jim changed when a young woman I know lost her husband in a motorcycle accident. They had only been married a few years and had two small children. They didn't know they would have so little time together when they got married - I wondered what they might have done differently had they known. I suspect everything. Jim and I look at every day with focus and determination. In many ways we are luckier as we know to value our time together - people who get married expect to have years together but fate sometimes has other plans. I know it sounds hokey but what would you do differently if today were your last day? I consider my time with Jim a gift from above... and he no longer looks sad.

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