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75, single, not looking…and then they got hitched!

By , 8:00 am on

A broken ankle landed Emma in a rehabilitation nursing home for 3 ½ months. She ate her meals in the dining room with a married couple who usually lived at the home, too. She soon started eating dinner with some women whom she had previously known from volunteer work. Emma said 6 of them would squeeze onto a table for 4, and had a great time together.

One day when she came down to the cafeteria none of her usual female dining companions were there. When she found her married couple friends, another man had already joined them. This is when she met George.

Emma said that the dining room was extra cold that day. George was already finished eating and offered her his throw blanket. She asked how she could return his blanket, so he gave her his room number. Later, when she tried to return it, he refused and said, “No come back tomorrow.”

Emma had called one of her daughters that evening. Her daughter said, “Mom, I think he likes you.”  Emma couldn’t quite believe it at first, but it was the truth.

George had to stay longer in the rehabilitation center, but Emma continued to visit him most every day. They went on several dates. She would pick him up for dinner or a drive.  They even worked together in her garden.

While they were dating, she had back surgery and returned to the rehabilitation hospital. They kept dating. Emma explained that whenever George was asked about doing an activity he would say, “Can Emma go? If Emma can’t go then I’m not going.” He was really committed to being by her side.

As they fell more in love, the nursing home began to coordinate dates for the couple. George had been a country music fan and has played guitar for years. And because this was his big love they took just Emma and George to a country concert. While at the concert they were singled out by the band in which they proceeded to say, “I hope your love for one another lasts as long as your love for country music.”

They both were eventually discharged from the rehabilitation hospital. George mentioned getting married. It had almost been a year since they met. They set a date and planned for a couple friends to be a part of their wedding. Since Emma had to return to the hospital around their planned wedding date, they got married at the hospital.

“We’d planned what clothes we were going to wear and brought some nice clothes to the hospital,” said Emma. Many people were watching through the chapel door and windows.  Even though the cell phone flashes were blinding, they didn’t mind, since this was their source for pictures.

The hospital brought a wedding cake in with live purple orchids, and gave them a celebration dinner. Even the CEO knew about their celebration.

One week after being discharged from the hospital, the nursing home where they had met hosted a dance party with a D.J., a wedding cake, and balloons all over the ceiling. Emma explained, “So many people danced! At first, people said they couldn’t dance but when I put my hands in the air and asked, ‘Can you wiggle?’ we filled the floor with wheelchairs.” Even the nursing assistants came out to the dance floor!

Finally, Emma said, “What we couldn’t do, others did for us. Now, whether we have one year or ten years, we just enjoy every day together.”

Emma relayed this true story of love to her great niece, Lynnette Whipple.  Lynnette is a Social Worker and Care Coordinator for Home Care Assistance Omaha.  

Photo Credit: Sketch of girl with her leg in a cast, by Jon Ross

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