As we’ve all come to experience, the theme of 2020 has truly been to expect the unexpected. The time of COVID-19 has presented many curveballs including canceled trips, graduations being canceled or moved to a virtual platform and for me personally, a marriage proposal.
In early 2019, I reconnected with a former boyfriend from my early adult years. He and I parted ways in 1990 and created our own separate lives. Sadly, both of our marriages ended in divorce. We had kept in contact over the years and when 2020 hit, he decided that 30 years had been entirely too long. He got in his car and traveled from East Tennessee to Oklahoma City to reunite with me.
His visit was magical – he fell head over heels with the city and with me. We knew immediately that we couldn’t bear to be apart any longer. After his return to Tennessee, the pandemic was almost in full swing. If I left Oklahoma to visit him, that would have meant two weeks of self-quarantine and I couldn’t leave my Memory Care residents for that long. After about six weeks, he packed up everything he owned and moved to Oklahoma City to begin dating and getting to know each other again.
On one Saturday I will never forget, our Lifestyles Director, Ryan, set up a Friends and Family Parade. These are fun, socially distant events where our residents’ loved ones drive by the community with signs, decorated cars, horns and lots of energy and love! My daughter and now fiancé even joined in and drove around the parade as well. As they arrived to where I was standing with our Memory Care residents, he shouted, “Patti James, will you marry me?” It was so romantic, and I, of course, said yes.
Everyone around us erupted in applause and joyous laughter as they could see how surprised I was. While we have not set an official wedding date yet, our residents still ask me about our wedding plans. This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and is truly a silver lining in the time of a global pandemic.