You know that part in the wedding vows when they talk about “for better or worse, in sickness and in health, `till death do us both shall part?”
Most couples breathlessly recite that part of their wedding vows, gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes and envisioning that if someday, their love should be tested like that, their love would conquer all.
But not this couple.
This couple recited the words solemnly, becoming husband and wife in front of a crowd of family and friends packed in their small hometown church. As they held hands, ever-present joyful smiles on their lips, they said the words that would become a promise that will carry them into the future…
A future that meant not jetting off to Hawaii on a honeymoon, but with making a decision about chemotherapy the day after the wedding.
After fighting a vicious form of bone cancer throughout his high school years, Elliot Orr looked forward to planning the wedding to the woman of his dreams, Christina. They planned the wedding for the end of summer, late August, before Elliot would head off to medical school and his bride-to-be start an exciting internship.
Joyfully, they optimistically looked forward to a future together after they had slain the beast known as bone cancer.
They didn’t know it had come back.
They didn’t know that this time, the cancer had spread.
They didn’t know if their future together, the future they had dreamed and planned and looked forward to for so long, would be cut short before it had even begun.
In his online medical journal, Elliot described his cancer coming back in a post he titled, “The Beginning of the End.”
Friends say Elliot’s cancer, “doesn’t look good.” It has spread from his bones throughout his body and treatment will be rigorous. But instead of despair, Elliot and Christina chose a different future.
They chose a future together.
Instead of a late summer wedding like they had planned, Elliot and Christina moved up their wedding. They were married last week, the church filled with beautiful music that Elliot, a songwriter, had written for his bride. My mom, Elliot’s former teacher, said she laughed through her tears through the entire wedding because there was just so much joy in this couple’s hearts for each other.
Because laced through this story of sadness and pain is a different kind of story.
One of unwavering and steadfast faith.
One of aching beauty.
One of a couple who chose to above all, celebrate life and love.
No matter what the future may hold.