You see, Peter has early-onset Alzheimer’s and has difficulty remembering a lot of things about his life — except for his love for his wife, Lisa.
In fact, Peter often forgets that Lisa, 54, is more than his favorite caregiver, much less remembering that she’s his wife. After his Alzheimer’s diagnosis a few years ago, Peter doesn’t remember marrying the woman he so deeply loves.
“It’s been devastating, but I’ve done my best to stay positive and focus on one day at a time,” Lisa explains. “My mantra has always been to have no regrets.”
First married on August 13, 2009, in Turks and Caicos, Peter and Lisa had dated long distance for about eight years prior. Peter made a job-related move to Connecticut, Lisa following him once her youngest son moved off to college.
They had first been neighbors in Pennsylvania, living across the street before intimately befriending each other after their respective divorces.
Peter started having memory problems in 2017, failing to remember words and generally becoming increasingly forgetful. Lisa took Peter to a neurologist for an answer a year later, and the diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease was confirmed.
The two have settled into their new dynamic, though the love between them has never faded, even if Peter doesn’t remember who Lisa really is.
Though in a recent moment of clarity while watching a TV show’s wedding scene, Peter’s eyes lit up as he brought Lisa’s attention to the screen.
“I said, ‘Do what?’ And he pointed to the TV, to the scene of this wedding and I said, ‘Do you wanna get married?’ He said yes and had this huge grin on his face,” said Lisa. “He doesn’t know that I’m his wife. I’m just his favorite person.”
The pair decided to declare their love for all to see, a glorious event planned by Lisa’s daughter, Sarah Brehant, who owns a wedding planning business.
“I knew that my stepdad, who I am very close with, was there through some of the toughest times of my life,” Sarah explained. “He means so much to me, and my mom is my best friend, so I was proud to be able to take on such an important role.”
The couple renewed their vows in front of family and close friends on April 26. Adrianna DeVivo, a licensed wedding officiant who had assisted Lisa in developing a care plan for her husband, officiated the wedding.
Vendors provided their services for free when they heard the heartwarming story.
“There wasn’t a dry eye, and I was over the moon,” Lisa said. “I hadn’t seen Peter that happy in a long time.”
Peter’s illness is progressing rapidly, to the point where he can’t recall the vow renewal ceremony from just a couple of months ago.
But he does remember that there is a woman who always loves and cherishes him. At the wedding, Lisa shared that Peter “leaned in and he whispered in my ear, ‘Thank you for staying.’ “
Peter’s condition has continued to decline, and he now requires constant supervision and assistance for even some of the most basic tasks. It is likely he will need to move to a long-term care facility that can provide for him.
“One day at a time,” Lisa expressed. “I don’t know who I am to him now, but I know that he definitely loves me and feels safe. When the bus brings him back home each day, we’ll sit on the porch for an hour and hold hands.”
May we all find the undying love that Peter and Lisa have together.
VIDEO ORIGINALLY FOUND ON NBC 4 NEW YORK