Another feature story appeared in today’s Tri-City (Washington) Herald on the couple who were married by Pastor Paul Guay of the Mabton, Washington, Grace Brethren Church in spite of the bride’s having been in a serious auto accident. The earlier posting on this blog was Monday, July 16. Today’s story may be seen in its original form by clicking http://www.tri-cityherald.com/tch/local/story/9198213p-9114635c.html
Sunnyside couple gets crash course in marriage
Published Monday, August 6th, 2007
By John Trumbo, Herald staff writer
Sarah Sharpe doesn’t remember her vows or much of anything else from her wedding, except that her new car was totaled and that everyone at the hospital seemed to be happy to see her “not on a slab at the morgue.”
But her husband, Cody Sharpe, 24, has a clear memory of the afternoon and evening of June 17, when he and his betrothed expected to be married at the Mabton Grace Brethren Church.
Sarah, 25, was driving from having her hair done to the church when a car slammed into the driver’s door of her 2006 Ford Focus.
The impact demolished her car and broke her left pelvis. And Sarah – who expected to be walking down the aisle with Cody that afternoon – ended up being taken by ambulance to Kadlec Medical Center, where she later was wheeled on a gurney to be married in the hospital lobby.
“I remember only bits and pieces,” Sarah said, seven weeks after the accident that left her unconscious for 30 minutes.
Minutes after the crash in Mabton, dozens of the wedding guests who were already on the way to the church heard the news.
Sarah’s bridesmaid witnessed the accident from a vehicle that was following behind the Ford Focus.
“I got the call from our pastor, who said, ‘Sarah’s been in a fender bender, and bumped her head,'” Cody said. That was bad, but he didn’t learn how bad until after arriving at Kadlec 40 minutes later.
Wedding guests started gathering at the hospital, and as soon as Sarah regained consciousness, her first thoughts and words were, “Am I married? Am I married?’ ” Sarah said.
Nobody was going to crash her wedding.
While nurses and doctors in the emergency room worked to stabilize Sarah and get her hooked up to an intravenous pain-killer, Paul Guay, the minister who planned to do the church wedding, prepared to conduct an impromptu ceremony in Kadlec’s lobby area.
“Someone brought flowers, and someone else brought the cake, which was placed on the grand piano,” Sarah said.
A family friend swung by Sarah’s house in Sunnyside and grabbed the wedding dress, ring and marriage certificate.
Although the emergency room staff was planning to send Sarah to Harborview Medical Center because of the seriousness of her injuries, the bride-to-be insisted on getting married that day.
Best man Mike Farmer and bridesmaid Tanya Bos, both of Sunnyside, were there, as were about 60 friends and guests who included parents of the bride and the groom.
The wedding photographer even showed up.
Sarah said her recollection of the marriage ceremony is fuzzy because of the effect of painkillers, but she does recall having difficulty putting the wedding band on Cody’s chubby finger. She also vaguely remembers Cody’s family tradition of having a figure-8 lasso placed around a couple as part of the marriage ceremony.
There was cake, the kiss, and photos with loved ones. But no honeymoon getaway.
Instead of a wedding night at a bed-and-breakfast inn in the Tri-Cities, Cody whiled away the late-night hours in his wife’s room at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
“I spent the night in a rocking chair next to her bed, guarding her,” Cody said.
As if being in a car wreck on the way to the church wasn’t enough, Sarah said the two ambulances – one she took to Kadlec and the other to Harborview – each had a major breakdown, requiring another ambulance to finish the ride.
“And all of our honeymoon money went to pay bills,” Cody said.
Despite the rough start, the couple is happily married.
They plan to do it again in the fall, so she can have the clear memory of wearing the wedding dress, walking down the aisle instead of being pushed on a hospital gurney, and saying the vows: “For better and for worse.”
But in their case, maybe it should be for “worse and for better.”