If there’s one thing Lisa Marshall knows for sure, it’s her husband being her “soulmate.”
The 54-year-old from Connecticut has been the caretaker for her husband, Peter Marshall, since he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2018, she told Today. The devastating neurological disorder affects nearly 6 million people in the United States age 65 and older and is primarily associated with progressive memory loss, according to Mayo Clinic.
“I didn’t know anything about Alzheimer’s,” Lisa told the outlet about Peter being diagnosed at just 53 years old. “It was something you get when you’re 80. I was ignorant about it. I didn’t know anything at all. I knew cognitively he was slipping quick, but I was in denial.”
While Alzheimer’s causes memory loss, the disorder can also lead to a number of other symptoms, including depression, mood swings, irritability and delusions.
As Lisa took up her caretaking responsibilities, she began documenting the journey on the Facebook page, Oh Hello Alzheimer’s.
“Every morning when I open my eyes, I see a vision similar to this one, just 3 feet away from my face,” Lisa wrote in a recent post on the page, which included a picture of Peter sitting on the floor beside her bed. “My beloved soulmate sitting quietly on the floor of my makeshift office bedroom. Peter, waiting ever so patiently for my eyes to open.”
While navigating this new chapter of their lives has been difficult, the couple – who have been married for 12 years, WNBC reported – have persevered thanks to the strength of their bond.
Peter reminded Lisa of his love for her last year as they watched a wedding scene on television. As they sat together, Peter asked his wife if she wanted to marry him, forgetting they had already exchanged vows long ago.
“I said, ‘Do what?’ And he pointed to the TV, to the scene of this wedding and I said, ‘Do you want to get married?’ He said yes and had this huge grin on his face,” Lisa said in response to Peter, according to the news station. “He doesn’t know that I’m his wife. I’m just his favorite person.”
But Lisa liked the idea of walking down the aisle once again with Peter, and on April 26, the couple renewed their vows in front of friends and family.
“There wasn’t a dry eye, and I was over the moon,” Lisa said to WNBC. “I hadn’t seen Peter that happy in a long time.”
To add to the specialness of the occasion, Lisa’s daughter, Sarah Brehant helped to throw the event. She owns a wedding planning business and knew how important the moment would be for her stepfather, Peter.
“I knew that my stepdad, who I am very close with, was there through some of the toughest times of my life,” Brehant told the Washington Post. “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.”
A video of the wedding has been posted to YouTube.
“I just want to be open and honest and tell people what we’re experiencing, because you might too,” Lisa told Today of why she has been open about her journey with Peter, from the good moments to the painful ones. “I’d rather know it and be prepared. That’s my whole mission, too.”