Michael Joyce was having trouble sleeping Jan. 14, so Linda Joyce took her 68-year-old husband's hand and asked him what he needed to get off his chest. "He looked at me with tears in his eyes and with a stutter he said, 'Will you marry me?'" Linda tells HuffPost. The New Zealand couple has been married for 34 years, but Michael was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010 and has trouble remembering the details of his life, including the fact that he had married Linda in 1984. Linda says she was "absolutely overjoyed" with his proposal. "Of course, I just told him, 'Yes, my darling, I'd be delighted to marry you.'" She suggested the following weekend for a ceremony, assuming Michael would have forgotten by the next morning. Instead, Linda says he woke up and started discussing it.
"In spite of his confused mind, he obviously knows and feels this is something he really wants to do," the Washington Post
quotes from a post Linda made to a community website asking for help. "To Michael it will be our wedding ceremony and to our friends and myself, a truly precious memorable occasion." Stuff
reports offers for free help from a photographer, a hairdresser, celebrants, and more poured in. "I mean, what a lovely story—the story of love, patience, and commitment," celebrant Gareth Duncan says. Against all odds, Michael continued to remember his proposal all the way up to the ceremony. The couple renewed their vows on Jan. 20 in front of 15 friends and then celebrated with pizza and champagne. "There's been a lot of sadness and a lot of frustration, and despite all the fogginess, today has been pure joy," Linda says.