NewsWorldA man with Alzheimer's forgot he was married and...

A man with Alzheimer’s forgot he was married and falls in love with his wife again


(CNN) – On a Saturday night in December last year, as Peter and Lisa Marshall snuggled on the couch watching their favorite TV show, Peter looked at Lisa and asked if she would marry him.

What 56-year-old Peter didn’t remember is that they were already married.

When he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s three years ago, Peter had already begun to lose his memories, including those of his fairy tale romance.

He had forgotten the first time they met, the first time they held hands, and the first time they kissed. He had also forgotten about his wedding.

“It’s heartbreaking,” 54-year-old Lisa told CNN. “We have created new memories, but it hurts because I always want to say ‘Do you remember that time?’ I want to remember the past with him, but Peter can’t remember anything now, much less what happened 20 years ago. “

The couple, who have been married for 12 years, met when they were neighbors in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. At the time, they were both married to other couples and were busy raising their children, but they forged a friendship and stayed close until Peter’s family moved to Connecticut.

After nearly a year with no contact, the two reconnected when they found out they were going through divorces. After a single date in Harrisburg, the two quickly became inseparable and remained in an eight-year long-distance relationship until all of their children entered college.

Peter and Lisa during their vow renewal.

Lisa described the relationship as a fleeting romance. When asked what she loves most about her husband, she paused, holding back tears.

The way he loves me, he said. “He is so kind, so gentle, so flirtatious, funny and romantic. He has always been so passionate about our relationship. For me”.

In 2009, Lisa moved to Connecticut and the couple got married.

“Something was wrong”

Lisa said it was easy to see that something in her husband was changing, but coming to terms with his new reality was difficult.

It started when you forgot your keys. Then your wallet. Then he began to forget the words and what they meant. Sometimes it was difficult to put sentences together.

She kept telling herself that it was only because they were getting old.

“It was my little secret to ignore it until my friends and family started commenting too, and then I knew it was real,” Lisa said. “People who hadn’t seen Peter in a while immediately noticed that something was wrong.”

After extensive testing, Peter was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease on April 30, 2018.

“I didn’t understand it until I started researching and realized that this was going to have a profound impact on our lives, and that I was going to need my husband,” Lisa said.

The disease quickly took hold of the couple’s lives. The memories they thought would stay with them for a lifetime quickly disappeared for Peter. One of those memories was their marriage.

The first time he forgot who his wife was, they were on a trip to their rental home in Rhode Island, a regular getaway when they needed to hit the beach.

On April 26, Peter and Lisa Marshall met again at the altar.

“One time when we were on our way home, Peter was giving me directions and then he kept saying things like, ‘This is the way to my house. Turn right to get to my house, ‘as if I were a different driver I didn’t know where we lived, ”said Lisa.

“When we got home, he ran to my side and opened the door, accompanied me to our house and was very nervous showing me around,” he said. “It was adorable, but I kept hoping it would come back to reality, but it never did.”

«He fell in love with me twice»

On December 12, 2020, as Peter and Lisa snuggled together watching the television series “New Girl,” a heartfelt wedding scene brought her to tears. Peter noticed her tears and began to laugh, before pointing at the screen and saying, “Let’s do it.”

“I was like, ‘do what?’ And he said, ‘Let’s get married,’ with a big smile on his face, “said Lisa.

“It’s going to be a lot of work,” he told her, not realizing that he had just proposed to his wife.

“It was very moving for me. Fell in love with me twice. I feel honored. I feel like a princess, like Cinderella. I am the luckiest girl in the world, ”said Lisa.

After sending their children a video of the moments after the proposal, they encouraged the couple to honor their enduring love by renewing their wedding vows. Despite some doubts, Lisa agreed. She didn’t want to miss out on creating another beautiful memory with her husband.

Lisa’s daughter, an event planner, reached out to the vendors who were also family friends and agreed to donate their services for the ceremony.

The couple kissed after exchanging vows.

On April 26, Peter and Lisa met again at the altar. With the help of a dementia specialist, who also officiated the ceremony, the two shared simple vows.

«I entered without expectations, the disease is so unpredictable. I still feel butterflies doing my makeup and putting the dress on. Each moment was more magical than the next, ”said Lisa.

“Peter was bright and present all day. Was so happy. During the vows, he said, ‘Lisa, I love you.’ And that’s all I needed, “he said.

Lisa knew that at any moment during the ceremony her husband could forget who she is again. But that was the least of his worries.

“I am his favorite person,” he pointed out. “I don’t need a label, like a wife, or nicknames he used to call me. Our hearts are connected in a way that all I need is for him to feel safe, and he does. And he loves me, and I love him, so that’s all that matters.

For now, Lisa, what has a blog to help other caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s, she focuses on Peter. As the disease progresses, now causing hallucinations, paranoia and extreme memory loss, she faces her reality day by day.

No matter what happens, whether he’s staying home or moving into a memory care facility, Peter is hers and she is his.

“We will be together until the end,” said Lisa. Nothing can separate us. Nothing”.



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