Forty five years after Rick and Judy met as teenagers of age 19,
they finally got “hitched.” This couple met, smiled and admired
each other from afar. Judy liked Rick’s warmth and the way he
lit up the room. Rick liked the shyness and quiet eye contact
when he met Judy at a party where she was with girlfriends
watching the boys ‘make fools out of themselves.’
They never dated, danced or spent much time together, but
their friends ‘ran around together.’ Eventually each married
When they got together in 2004, Judy had three children, six
grandchildren (like me, I thought when I heard this Cleveland
couple’s story!) Rick had two children and three grandchildren.
The amazing thing was, Rick says, this would not have gotten
started if Judy heard he was single from that old ‘gang of theirs.’
She called him up on her birthday and said, (with some trepidation)
“How about a date for my birthday?”
Rick was thrilled to reconnect with someone he had admired and
she was also, excited to see this life of the party man grown and
matured. They instantly knew they were going to spend the rest of
their lives together.
She had become a nursing assistant and was still practicing this
in a hospital setting, he was a pipefitter who was starting to feel
the pain of arthritis and like his own “parts were wearing out.”
In just one short year, 2005, Rick got sick. He ended up in the
hospital with a stroke. He had another complication, diabetes.
Judy, being prepared to take early retirement, decided to nurse
Rick ‘back to health.’ He recuperated mainly and they started to
walk for their healthy future. They chose Cleveland “Emerald
Necklace” metroparks. They particularly liked the Nature Center
at Shaker Lakes.
Rick was so discouraged that he felt weaker and when he went into
the hospital the next time, he had congestive heart failure and then,
Their dream had been to bring both their families together and have
a small wedding. Once Crossroads Hospice learned of this wish, they
put it into action, first getting family and friends who visited to get
a complete list of the “old gang” and their addresses.
With promises of every day being a special one, from this day forward,
Judy and Rick exchanged their vows. There were bouquets, boutonnieres,
wedding cake, linens, music, favors and a wedding suit. The men wore
purple shirts under gray suits. Judy’s dress was a lacy beige. It was a time
of reunion, celebration and hopes abounded.
No matter how many or how few their days they have, this was the way
they really wanted to share their final days. The loves of their lives came
later than some but; better late than never!