Till death do us part
Michelle Plumley, 32, from Bristol, had just hours to plan her wedding – for tragic reasons…
I asked him to move in. Yes, it was fast... but why wait?
Standing out on online dating isn’t that easy. There’s an ocean of forgettable faces, picky profiles and swipe-right addicts. ‘I’ll never find The One on here,’ I sighed after another session on my phone.
And then I got a message. I’m originally a Hartcliffe lad... But your handbag is safe around me, no need to hide it behind the sofa! And I won’t leave your car on bricks!
The joker was called Scott and I’d flicked past his profile a while ago.
He now lived 30 miles away, in Stroud, and his comment – about an area of Bristol – made me howl with laughter.
I replied to let him know... and, just like that, we were speaking all the time, sometimes into the early hours.
Two weeks on, and we had our first date planned.
But, as a single mum to two littl’uns – Bailey, 3, and Amelia, 1, I couldn’t pop off to the beach like Scott had suggested.
So... ‘Why don’t you come to me?’ I suggested.
‘Sure!’ he exclaimed, ‘But would I be able to stay over?’
It sounded cheeky – but it was a long drive for him, so I agreed.
‘Just make sure you’re gone by the morning,’ I smiled.
I didn’t want to introduce him to the kids too soon, had to be careful. But, after dinner and drinks, we didn’t hit the hay until after 4am. I felt as if I’d only just closed my eyes when I woke with a start.
‘Morning, Mummy!’ shouted little Bailey.
With that, the door was flung open and my two came rushing in.
They bounced on the bed, looked at Scott and then at me... ‘Who’s this?’ asked Amelia. ‘Mummy’s friend,’ I stammered. Talk about an awkward moment!
I ushered them out of the room, thought breakfast might mellow them and give me a chance to compose myself.
I busied myself in the kitchen and could hear shrieks of laughter from the other room.
It was the kids and Scott. He and Bailey were on their hands and knees, and Amelia was climbing over Scott like a little monkey, as they played trains.
I couldn’t help but smile
– he was a natural with them.
And that was the moment I knew… Turns out that I had met The One online, after all! Scott was back again that weekend and at least twice a week after that.
When we’d been together for six months, I asked him to move in. Yes, it was fast, but why wait?
I even looked at engagement rings.
Then, one night in
July 2017 after a few cocktails with the girls, I got home and dug out the ring I’d secretly bought. Going down on one knee in our bedroom, I told Scott how much I loved him. ‘Will you marry me?’ I asked. He gave a sigh, and
then said, ‘Yes!’
Later, at Christmas, giving me my own dazzling engagement ring, I found out why he’d sighed.
‘You’re so impatient!’ he laughed, ‘I’d already put a deposit on this ring, but you beat me to it.’
I loved that we were on the same page.
We planned a long engagement to save money and to wait for the children to get a little older, so they could be more involved.
It should have been a perfect plan. But then Scott started getting poorly...
He’d been complaining for months of having really bad indigestion.
But, by July this year, he
could barely eat or drink, or even swallow anything. Then he began to vomit blood. Endless doctors appointments later, no-one could get to the bottom of it.
Eventually, he was finally admitted to Southmead Hospital. He had gastroscopies, CT scans, blood transfusions.
And, within a week, they had an answer.
‘Babe, they think it’s cancer…’ Scott said, his voice quiet on the phone.
I sat on the edge of my bed, not able to take it in.
But I knew, they wouldn’t say the C word unless they were pretty much certain.
The following day, I was given the news formally.
I’d been in the hospital for a matter of minutes when they ushered me, alone, to the quiet room at the end of the hall.
‘Scott has an aggressive tumour in his oesophagus,’ his doctor explained. ‘It’s stage four...and it’s spread to his liver. I’m sorry.’ I wanted to scream, to cry...
But I didn’t. I stayed calm, wanted to know what was next in Scott’s treatment.
The doctor shook his head. ‘We can’t do anything for him,’ he said.
‘How long does he have?’ I asked, voice wobbling.
I’d expected a few months, time for me to spend with him, to prepare myself, the kids...
‘Maybe a couple of weeks but...most likely a few days.’
In that second, my heart broke. Scott had no clue that he had just days left...and I had to tell him.
And when I did explain, he let one tear fall before turning to me.
‘I’m so sorry I have to leave you and the kids,’ he said.
The daft thing – thinking of us when he was literally at death’s door.
But that was my Scott. We knew what we had to do, though. Get married.
The next day was a whirlwind. We spoke to the hospital minister, got a licence fast-tracked and booked our wedding for the next day at midday.
We were going to get married, I’d be Scott’s wife. I put out a plea on Facebook for help. I had 19 hours to plan a wedding. My friend gave me her dress.
My neighbour made me a cake and bouquet. Dad gave me my late mum’s ring as my own. Scott’s sister would do my make-up and our other neighbour Holly my hair. It somehow all came together just in time.
So, on 15 August this year, in the same room I’d been told I’d lose the love of my life, I promised ‘until death do us part’.
Scott was exhausted but, when it came to taking me as his lawfully wedded wife, he shouted from the rooftops, ‘I sure do!’
We sealed it with a kiss, and had a beautiful afternoon. But, that evening, as I lay in the chair next to Scott’s hospital bed, I knew the end was soon. ‘Babe, I’ve had enough… I just want to die,’ Scott said. ‘It’s OK. You can go. Just promise me you’ll look down on me and the children,’ I said. Right at the end, he was in agony. And it hurt me to see it. But he hung on until just after midnight. I held his hand, placed his wedding ring on his chest and whispered, ‘I love you to the moon and back,’ – something I’d always told him. And with three final gasps, he was gone. Having worked in care, I knew that, as far as deaths went, his was as quiet and peaceful as I could have hoped for.
I know in my heart that Scott had held on for a new day, hadn’t wanted to die on the day we became man and wife.
I also know in my heart that he’s not gone. Scott’s still around and looking down on me and the kids. He promised me that he would – and my precious Scott never, ever let me down.
A kiss for the love of my life
Scott – a natural with the kids
My ring: we planned a long engagement
‘I sure do!’ he told the minister
I love him to the moon and back…