A REAL TEARJERKER

An Alaskan woman gets to feel her son’s pres­ence on her spe­cial day

In Touch (USA) - - Intouch -

Pass the Kleenex! Find out how a bride is able to hear her late son’s heart­beat at her wed­ding — and see the emo­tional pics

Becky Tur­ney’s dream wed­ding was set to go off with­out a hitch. On a pic­turesque farm in An­chor­age, Alaska, in July, the nearly 250 guests had set­tled into their seats and the brides­maids and grooms­men were in place. But just as the cer­e­mony was about to be­gin, the groom, Kelly, un­ex­pect­edly let go of Becky’s hands and set off down the aisle. “I was ir­ri­tated,” Becky re­calls. “I was like, ‘Get back here, we’re get­ting mar­ried!’” Lit­tle did she know, Kelly had stopped the wed­ding to in­tro­duce a very spe­cial guest. Ad­dress­ing Becky and their friends and fam­ily mem­bers, Kelly ex­plained that while Becky’s late son, Tris­ton, who had died at 19, could not be there, Ja­cob Kilby — the man who had re­ceived Tris­ton’s do­nated heart in Oc­to­ber 2015 — was in at­ten­dance. “I was over­come with joy,” Becky, a 911 op­er­a­tor, tells In Touch. She had ex­changed a few Face­book mes­sages with Ja­cob but they’d never met face-to-face. Now her son’s heart had made its way home. “When Ja­cob came for­ward, I threw my arms around him and just hugged him.” The touch­ing scene was cap­tured by the Tur­neys’ wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher; a Face­book post fea­tur­ing some of the pho­tos gar­nered 5 mil­lion views in one night alone. “Hav­ing Ja­cob there,” says Becky, “was the best wed­ding gift ever.” The sur­prise re­union had been stealth­ily or­ches­trated over months by Kelly. Becky, 40, “doesn’t ask for any­thing; she doesn’t need for any­thing,” says Kelly, 45, a re­tired po­lice of­fi­cer who owns an an­tique shop near their home in Wasilla, Alaska. (Becky has another daugh­ter, Paige, 13, from her pre­vi­ous mar­riage, and Kelly has a daugh­ter, Maddy, 15, from his.) “She’s not the kind of woman you can go to the store and buy a wed­ding gift. So I thought, ‘ What could be the best gift that I could give?’”

There wasn’t a dry eye at the cer­e­mony. “Even the peo­ple who knew about the sur­prise cried,” says Kelly. One es­pe­cially poignant mo­ment came af­ter the “I do”s, when Ja­cob pre­sented Becky with a stetho­scope so she could lis­ten to her son’s heart­beat. “It was in­cred­i­ble,” says Becky, who de­clined to dis­cuss the na­ture of Tris­ton’s death. “Noth­ing short of amaz­ing to hear my son’s heart beat­ing again.”

Becky and Kelly plan on re­main­ing close to Ja­cob. “It’s amaz­ing how well he fits in with our fam­ily,” Becky says of the 22-yearold, who was born with a heart con­di­tion and works for a smart­watch com­pany in San Diego. She and her daugh­ter, Paige, are plan­ning to visit him this month. And to­gether, Becky, Kelly and Ja­cob hope to spread the word about the im­por­tance of or­gan do­na­tion. “I wouldn’t be here with­out Tris­ton,” says Ja­cob. “I want Becky to know I re­spect the gift I’ve been given, and that I’ll al­ways take care of it.”

— Re­port­ing by Melissa Roberto

AMAZ­ING MO­MENT At her July 7 wed­ding, Becky met the man who, in 2015, had re­ceived her late son’s do­nated heart. She even got a chance to hear her son’s heart­beat. “Hav­ing him there pro­vided so much com­fort and heal­ing to our fam­ily,” she says.

SPE­CIAL TRIBUTE Becky at­tached pho­tos of her son, Tris­ton, to her bridal bouquet. “I felt his pres­ence so sig­nif­i­cantly on my wed­ding day,” she says. The groom UNIQUE BOND “Hav­ing him in our lives is a bless­ing,” Kelly (left) says of Ja­cob. Adds Becky: “H

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