senior woman in white dress with bouquet stands beside man in wheelchair and beside dark-haired woman with her hand on his shoulder

Abernethy Laurels Resident Renews Vows After 57 Years of Marriage

(March 15, 2024) – For many older residents at Abernethy Laurels, a spouse’s love sustains and uplifts them despite changes in age, health, ability, and even home environment. For one couple in particular, that abiding love offered an ideal opportunity to recommit to each other, even after many years together.

Larry Caldwell is a healthcare resident, and Betty, his wife of 57 years, visits him daily. He absolutely lights up when she appears and often tells the staff how much he loves her. Several months ago, he began confiding to her that he’d like to get married again, and Betty was excited by the prospect of having their pastor renew their wedding vows.

wedding topper with bride and groom in front of wedding cakeWhen the couple got married decades ago, the ceremony was a simple, private affair at the church parsonage. Although Betty’s family hosted a lovely dinner to celebrate the occasion, there was no wedding cake and no flowers. With a second ceremony, Larry was intent on giving Betty those two things that were missing so long ago. He was clear in specifying bouquets of pink roses – Betty’s favorite – along with a vanilla wedding cake with those delicate pink roses replicated in frosting.

On Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at 11 am, friends and family gathered in Friendship Court at Abernethy Laurels to honor the marriage of Betty and Larry, along with Larry’s fellow residents and lots of staff members. Pastor Donald Cline of Mt. Anderson Baptist Church in Maiden officiated, and Emily Mathis, resident services coordinator, played her guitar and sang Elvis songs – Larry’s favorite.

The service was low-key and brief but beautifully coordinated by Amy Carter, director of activities, and other members of the Abernethy team. Guests enjoyed slices of cake and glasses of punch while they congratulated Larry and Betty and celebrated their long-lived relationship. Plenty of staff members also doted on Larry and chatted with Betty, affectionate and relaxed with both of them. While Larry had been offered Spirit Place (the community’s event space) for the renewal of vows, he opted for Friendship Court instead. The more intimate space was perfect for the sweet, familiar tone of the ceremony.

To enhance the renewal of vows, Betty had brought along a display of photos chronicling the couple’s life together – from their original wedding to their 50th anniversary. It also included photos of children, grandchildren, and other loved ones – a beautiful tribute to a solid relationship and a legacy of love. In June, the two of them will celebrate 58 years of marriage – and still enjoy the excitement of being newlyweds for the second time!

The Caldwells’ vows renewal ceremony was made possible by EveryAge’s Grant a Dream™ program, which is designed to renew and celebrate a resident’s passion for life by providing longed-for experiences. It’s available for older adults at all EveryAge locations (EveryAge is Abernethy Laurels’ parent organization) and is a great way for a resident to relive a joyful time from their past or to achieve a dream or goal they’ve not managed to fulfill yet.

The EveryAge Foundation covers the costs of the dream within program guidelines and on an individual basis. A dream can be simple or more elaborate in nature. All EveryAge employees are encouraged to identify potential dreams of residents and to submit an application to be considered.

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