Love conquers all: Planning a destination wedding - an introduction
31 May 2018
Say hello to our new bridal blogger, Becki Morphus from Norfolk, who details her journey in planning a destination wedding and the personal struggles she has had to endure from the outset
As we shake the wedding planner’s hand and watch the stunning sunset over the Med, I exchange a happy smile with my fiancé Gary. After the year we’ve had, I sometimes doubted that we would ever actually reach this point of booking our dream beach wedding in the sun.
Gary and I met two and a half years ago, when I was 45 and he was 39. To be honest, I was quite happy being long-term single after a string of failed relationships, including an ill-fated marriage to my children’s father when I was in my 20s. But when I met Gary, it suddenly made total sense as to why my other relationships had failed. As cliché as it sounds, he really is my saviour, my protector, my soulmate and my best friend. He indulges my reality TV addiction and embraces my OCD – what more could I ask for?!
I had also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2013, which is a long-term chronic pain condition that is managed through a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. Gary is very understanding about this, even researching the condition to be better able to support me. In turn, he says I am a calming influence on him. I am a very positive thinker and I helped Gary see life from a different perspective; time is precious, so spend more of it doing the things that make you happy... and the pointlessness of road rage. I always say that we may not be perfect, but we are definitely perfect for each other.
We also have a shared love of Spain; Gary had previously lived and worked there as an estate agent for five years and I was in the middle of downsizing in the UK after my adult children had left home. I was in the process of buying a holiday home in La Manga, SE Spain, where my family had holidayed for the last 14 years.
Gary and I spent many happy hours planning our dream goal of living in Spain for several months each year, with the eventual aim of moving out there permanently. Gary works in sales and hopes to build his own estate agency and I left my permanent job as a probation officer in a local prison to take up agency probation work, in order to give me more flexibility. In 2016, we visited La Manga three times, to find the perfect beach apartment within my budget and managed to secure the deal on one with three bedrooms and sea views in October 2016. It was an older property and needed a bit of work, but Gary wasn’t fazed, as it was mostly cosmetic. We made plans to spend several months out there during 2017, to start putting plans in place and to do the apartment up. Gary went first, with a van load of furniture and personal belongings in February 2017 and, after working throughout the winter, I followed in April.
We spent a fantastic three months together in our new second home and Gary even surprised me with an unexpected proposal on 6th June 2017, getting down on one knee in front of our friends in a local bar on the marina. We set the date for 6th June 2019 and were both so excited - I had always dreamed of a beach wedding, but never really thought it would happen, yet here I was at the grand old age of 46, with an amazing fiancé and facing an exciting new chapter in life. Then, one day, I found a lump in my breast and everything was about to change.
At first, I wasn’t too worried, as I knew the likelihood was that it would be a benign lump and I had also fought and beaten skin cancer seven years before - the melanoma mole was removed, there were no signs of the cancer spreading, I just had to go for regular check-ups for five years and I was now classed in remission. However, although I had emergency medical cover in Spain, I knew I needed to return to the UK sooner than planned, for such significant and ongoing health needs.
We agreed that Gary should stay in Spain to continue building the business and that he should only come back early as a last resort. I contacted the probation agency and arranged to start back at work in early July 2017. I also arranged a doctor’s appointment for the same time. My doctor agreed that the lump was ‘suspicious’ and so I was sent to have a biopsy at the hospital. Unfortunately, the biopsy showed the lump to be cancerous and I was diagnosed with Grade 3 breast cancer in late July and a date was set for my operation to remove the lump and to take out the first lymph node in my armpit, to determine if the cancer had spread at all.
We were devastated, but agreed that if there were no signs of the cancer spreading and I would only need the op, with no ongoing treatment, Gary would stay in Spain. I had my son at home to look after me during my recovery and would fly back to join Gary in a matter of weeks. I had everything crossed that this would be the case and we could resume our lives with minimal disruption. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the good news we hoped for, the test showed that the cancer had started spreading into the lymph node and I would need months of intensive treatment, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
In September 2017 we agreed that Gary had to return to the UK to be by my side during what would be a really difficult six months of treatment. However, although I knew it would be hard and was ready to fight the cancer head on, what I didn’t realise at that stage is that the chemo would actually prove to be life-threatening for me too.
To be continued... My emotional journey to health, love and happiness will continue in the next monthly blog, due out in July.