A Final Celebration of Their Life Together

Her dress, borrowed from a colleague at CVS, was almost an afterthought. “She had said earlier in the year, ‘I have a wedding dress and I...


Her dress, borrowed from a colleague at CVS, was almost an afterthought. “She had said earlier in the year, ‘I have a wedding dress and I’m not going to be keeping it.’ I called her and said, ‘Can I borrow it?’”

Dr. Moore and Ms. Moore picked it up from the drugstore on the way to the wedding.

On the morning of March 26, while a Duke University Hospital chaplain, the Rev. Theresa Bayless, prepared to lead the small outdoor ceremony, Ms. Myler invited a handful of Mr. Benesch’s family members to the hospital courtyard. Eight of them arrived in time to watch the wedding from a social distance, and to see Mr. Benesch for the last time.

Because the couple could not get a marriage license in 24 hours, the ceremony was not a legal one. “They would have loved to have had the license to make it legal, but declaring their love for each other with family present was special enough,” Dr. Moore said. “Having people there to recognize their love was a gift.”

Ms. Bayless wrote vows for the couple. “In front of your friends and family gathered here, do you promise to love each other, to share hopes, thoughts and dreams together?” she asked. After both said “I do,” Ms. Myler bent down to kiss Mr. Benesch in his wheelchair.

“I’m so happy we were able to do this,” he said through Ms. Myler in a telephone interview the day after the wedding. “I wish we had done it sooner.”

As Mr. Benesch died in the predawn hours of April 2, Ms. Myler was in his hospital room, holding his hand.

Later that day, she was reminded of his generosity. “He was an organ donor,” she said. “His organs are going to help others.”

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