Till death do us part

Michelle Plum­ley, 32, from Bris­tol, had just hours to plan her wed­ding – for tragic rea­sons…

Pick Me Up! - - CONTENTS -

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…

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