Sarah Joy Hopkin says her original plan was to get married next summer, but when the Vancouver resident heard her mother’s health was failing, she moved the date up a year and held the event at a Waterloo long-term care home, ont. easy peasy.
“There’s really nothing else I would want other than … to have my mom there,” Hopkin, who is getting married today, said this week while standing at his mother’s bedside.
After a couple of recent health issues left his mother bedridden, Hopkin decided to bring the wedding to the Parkwood Senior Community in Waterloo, also known as the Parkwood Mennonite Home, where Judi Hopkin could receive support. she needed to attend the ceremony and spend invaluable time with her. daughter.
Judi was placed in hospice care and given several months to live, but her spirits were running high in the days leading up to the wedding.
“I thought, ‘Oh please take me to the wedding. Take me to the wedding,'” she said.
Judi has spent the last three years at Parkwood Seniors Community in a form of isolation that rivals that of COVID-19. Her condition has made mobility nearly impossible.
“I really only know this room,” she said, adding that the wedding “has opened up all of Parkwood for me in so many ways.”
Wedding is home talk LTC
Originally, her daughter requested a small ceremony just for the immediate family in Judy’s room for her marriage to Chris Jimmo.
When she spoke with Parkwood CEO Christine Normandeau, she thought she would be in for some doubt, especially so soon after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. But Normandeau thought they could do more.
“I thought it was wonderful,” Normandeau said.
Now what was a private family event has become “the talk of the town,” said Sarah Joy Hopkin.
The ceremony was not only approved, but moved to the facility’s Fellowship Hall, the largest room in the house.
Parkwood also provides flowers, piano tuning, extra cleaning, access to audiovisual equipment and use of the kitchen, the bride-to-be said. There are expected to be 70 guests at the event.
“We never imagined this would be possible. The Parkwood staff has gone above and beyond to make this day a joyous celebration of love and community.”
Judi’s personal support worker, Jaime Kissak, will also be there for the big day.
“I think this is really exciting,” Kissak said, saying it’s been such a positive event to focus on post-pandemic. “Right from the start, Judi and I really clicked. I mean, she’s a very adorable person,” he said.
“She’s really comfortable with me and I’ll make sure she’s comfortable. Whatever she needs, I’m there.”
Other residents have also been involved in the preparations. Before Saturday’s ceremony, a table of mid-20th-century wedding photos was displayed along with wedding dresses, kept in pristine condition over the years.
Normandeau highlighted the importance of the exhibit and how it provides “meaningful opportunities for people to reflect and remember.”
“This wedding has allowed so many people to come together in what is truly a significant ceremony of life, one that everyone can support.”
From a bumpy start to a ‘I do’
Hopkins met Jimmo just before the COVID-19 lockdown began in BC. The couple matched with each other on not one, but two separate online dating sites.
“It was definite that we had to get out,” Jimmo said.
For their first date, Jimmo took Hopkin, who was a non-drinking vegetarian at the time, to Vancouver’s Shameful Tiki Room, a cocktail bar specializing in meat dishes. Jimmo, who works in visual effects for television, said he learned during the meeting that Hopkins didn’t even have a television.
“I thought, well, maybe I’ll go on a second date, but probably not,” she said. “Three strikes, done.”
Hopkins’ first impression was Jimmo’s attention to detail.
“I had the Hawaiian shirt that matched the decor in the tiki room. And the tiki room is a very difficult restaurant to get into. They don’t take reservations,” he said. “I was impressed with the effort he had put in.”
Jimmo then admitted that he had spent half an hour in the pouring rain, just to make sure they got inside.
They casually dated for the next three months “and then ended up moving in by chance. She moved in with me right at the start of COVID,” Hopkin said.
“It just went from there.”
Walking down the aisle to the tune of Elvis
A bigger wedding for Hopkins means more friends and family can join them for the big day.
Close friends provide the music and cupcakes while your uncle will officiate. Hopkins’ sister is the bridesmaid and the bridesmaids are his nieces, ages 11 and 13.
“It’s kind of like an extension of the community. It really has been a community,” Hopkin said.
Will walk down the aisle with 70 voices singing Elvis I can not help Falling in Love.
“I told my mom that, and that was one of the songs that was really special to her and my dad. So it came full circle.”
Judi said that being able to attend the wedding, “to me, that’s so powerful.”
She said that everyone at Parkwood has gone a step further and she is touched by the efforts.
“From the top to the caregivers and the chaplain, everyone has been amazing in helping me make sure that I can do what I can to be a part of this,” Judi said. “It’s really significant.”