Most wedding days only happen once, but Peter and Lisa Marshall got to relive the magic again.
Peter, 56, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s three years ago, asked his wife to marry him again in December, after forgetting the couple had wed 12 years prior. Lisa told NBC New York that as they were watching an episode of New Girl featuring a wedding, Peter pointed at the screen and said, “Let’s do it.”
“And I said, ‘Do what?’” she recalled. “And he pointed to the TV, to the scene of this wedding, and I said, ‘You want to get married?’ And he said ‘yes’ and had this huge grin on his face. He doesn’t know that I’m his wife, I’m just his favorite person.”
“It’s heartbreaking,” Lisa told CNN. “We’ve made new memories, but it hurts because I always want to say ‘Remember that one time?’ I want to reminisce with him, but Peter can’t remember anything now, much less what happened 20 years ago.”
Still, Lisa—who met Peter when they were neighbors in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania—told her children, who encouraged her to renew their wedding vows. Lisa’s daughter, an event planner, helped set the whole thing up.
“I went into it with no expectations, the disease is so unpredictable. I still got butterflies getting my make up done and putting my dress on. Every moment was more magical than the next,” Lisa said of the April 26 ceremony, which was officiated by a dementia specialist.
Lisa told CNN that she knew her husband could forget who she was at the ceremony, but she doesn’t “need a label, like a wife, or nicknames he used to call me.”
“Our hearts are connected in a way that all I need is for him to feel safe, and he does,” she said. “And he loves me, and I love him, so that’s all that matters.”