"I had 20 hours to arrange a wedding": Woman marries her soulmate and watches him die just 13 hours after saying 'I do'
Michelle Plumley had just 20 hours to arrange the entire wedding, after it was revealed that Scott had just a few days to live after being diagnosed with stage four cancer
Michelle White, from Lawrence Weston, Bristol, was living a normal life with her fiancé, Scott Plumley. The couple was not in a rush to get married and after being together for two years, they knew they had all the time in their hand to plan a perfect wedding for themselves.
However, things took a drastic turn for them after Scott was diagnosed with stage four cancer. On Thursday, (August 9), Michelle returned from her home and found Scott lying on the floor unconscious. She immediately called a hospital and Scott was admitted to Southmead Hospital on Friday (August 10) morning. For the last month, Scott wasn't in good health as he complained of indigestion and had been prescribed omeprazole, a drug for treating stomach ulcers.
However, an endoscopy made the doctors realize that the truth was far worse. "The consultant came in at around 4 pm on Monday to his bed at Southmead Hospital," Michelle recalled speaking to Bristol Post. He said Scott had Stage 4 cancer of the esophagus, and because they caught it late it had already spread to his liver and had destroyed that, and there was nothing they could do." When Michelle asked the doctors about how long Scott had in his hand, she did not expect the answer to be even more devastating.
"I asked how long, expecting them to say 'a couple of months' or something, so I could bring him home, but they said 'no it will be weeks at most, in fact, it could be just days," she recalled. "They said there was nothing they could do, no chemo or anything, just palliative care. This was devastating." Michelle and Scott met on an online dating site. She recalled that they chatted for a couple of days before meeting but once they did, they knew that it was going to be an inseparable bond.
Within a couple of few months, Scott moved in with Michelle and stepped into the shoes of a father for her two children. However, after the diagnosis, the pair knew that they had to get married soon. We were already engaged — we got engaged on the anniversary of us getting together — and we were planning to get married, saving up for it. I had a few bits and bobs bought for when the day came," she said.
They explained Scott's situation to their family and friends and within no time, all of them were by their side for support. "Scott was born in Bristol, brought up in Hartcliffe, went to Withywood School and moved later to Stroud, lived in Gloucester for a time, and everyone all around knew him," Michelle said. "He was one of those people who everyone loved and was friends with. People from school came to see him, people from all over."
She continued, "I don't think there was a moment when there wasn't someone at his bedside to see him. We had a stream of people." Meanwhile, Michelle had to plan a wedding which was supposed to take place within hours. We got to the Register Office in the city center at 4 pm on Tuesday, and got the Registrar to come to the hospital at noon on Wednesday," she said. "It was a massive rush. I literally had 20 hours to prepare and arrange a wedding. Everyone was so generous. One of my friends did the flowers, got a cake. One neighbor did my hair, it was amazing."
Michelle also had all her community people come together for them. I live in a block of flats in Lawrence Weston and it is a real community. When they heard what was happening, everyone came out and helped out," she added. For the ceremony, Scott wore a shirt and trousers and Michelle wore a traditional dress and tiara. Scott was sitting in his wheelchair and taken to the ward where their friends and family members were waiting.
"He was so strong, really battling being obviously in pain," she recalled. "He could hardly speak, but when they asked 'do you take this woman' when we were saying our vows, he answered loudly: 'I sure do! He kept his sense of humor throughout - and he had a great sense of humor. He said there was no way he'd have any Prosecco, which is what we were toasting with, so we bought him a little bottle of Stella, and he had a sip or two of that."
The couple sure did click many pictures to cherish their special day. "After an hour or so in the chair, you could tell it was getting too much - we've got a good 200 wedding photos! So he went back to bed for some sleep, and we all went to the Air Balloon pub for the wedding reception," she said. "The family and I returned later and we had a great evening by his bedside. He was so happy he managed to smile throughout the whole thing."
Throughout this, Michelle never left Scott's side. He was a bit perkier that evening, and I was planning on spending the night where - they'd got me a reclining chair next to his bed, so I put my pajamas on and settled down," she said. "His mum and sister stayed until about 11 pm, and he was deteriorating fast. We knew it was coming to the end." Michelle and Scott enjoyed their last few hours together.
"He was uncomfortable, thrashing at his oxygen and being a right little bugger. But by 1.30am, he had settled down a bit. He was so tired from the day - it was a long and emotional day," she said. "I sat with him, holding his hand and he smiled, and kept saying he was sorry and 'I love you'. I was holding him and kissing him and he took three gasps of breath and I said 'it's ok baby, you can go now, and get out of the pain."
Shortly after 1.30 am, Scott passed away, just 13 hours after his wedding. "I've worked as a carer most of my life and I've worked in nursing homes and done palliative care, and as deaths go it was the nicest death," Michelle said. I was only his wife for 13 hours, but now I've gained such an amazing family, my sister in law, brother in law, mother in law, cousins and a whole load of friends. I thought I had 20 or 30 years with him. He made me so happy for the last two years. He was happy-go-lucky, the sort of bloke that everyone remembered, always really friendly and would do anything for anyone to help. Now I've got to do one last thing for him."
Now, the same week in which she celebrated her wedding with Scott, Michelle is planning her funeral for him. To help with the extra expenses, she has set up a GoFundMe page. Scott's mum Sue Dando added that the family is trying to get through. "We are struggling," she said. "We have had seven days from hell."