Ask anyone who has had to watch a loved one suffer from it and they’ll tell you just how terrible dementia is.
For those fortunate enough not to have experienced its devastating effects, can you imagine what it must be like to witness someone slowly slip away, remaining here in their physical form but being unable to recollect all of the memories that make them who they are?
Anne Duncan knows it only too well. Her 71-year-old husband, Bill, suffers from the condition. The pair have been together for 18 years, but over the course of the past decade Bill has been steadily forgetting parts of their life.
Which is why when Bill, who struggles to talk, asked Anne to marry him, she was more than just a little bit surprised.
According to reports, Anne explained: “We’d been to a family member’s wedding earlier in the month, and clearly it touched Bill as he turned to me not long after and said that he wanted to be with me forever.
“He asked me when would we be walking up the aisle together, and I thought he would just forget he’d asked me that, but then the next day he said it again.
“I had some friends coming over on the weekend and thought that would be the perfect time to have our second wedding, if Bill still wanted to by then.
“Every day, he asked me about our wedding, and finally on 17 August, I walked down the aisle with my wonderful husband, 12 years after our first wedding.”
Anne and Bill first met each other back in 2001, when Bill was living and working in Aberdeen, Scotland. The couple decided to get married in 2007, and for a time life was blissful.
Sadly, however, just three years after tying the knot the first time, Anne started to notice a strangeness to Bill’s behavior. After deciding to take the matter up with medical professionals, the couple were dealt the very harshest of blows: Bill was suffering from dementia.
For the past nine years Bill’s condition has been steadily deteriorating, but Anne insists their love is a strong as ever.
Which is what makes their second marriage even more special.
“Our friends pitched in to help with decorating the garden and providing a wedding cake, and my daughter Andrea convinced me to get a dress for the day too,” Anne said.
“We renewed our vows surrounded by a small group of our friends and family, and even added some bits in for Bill so it felt like he really was getting married.
“It was the most beautiful day, and being with our friends in the garden we share together made it all the more perfect.”