DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. — Annie Gauthier and Sylvain Boilard were to be married last Saturday surrounded by 250 family and friends, but she died of cancer three days before the nuptials.
The party went on anyway, featuring the urn that held Gauthier’s ashes.
She had decided to stop chemotherapy treatments after a three-year illness, prompting Boilard to ask her for her greatest wish.
“I want to hold a big party and invite everyone that we love,” Boilard quoted his fiancee as saying.
That’s when Boilard, her boyfriend of 25 years and father of their two children, got down on one knee and proposed. He says they spent the rest of the memorable evening holding each other tightly, talking about their impending marriage.
“We were at peace,” he recalled.
Relatives who received the wedding invitations were overjoyed but also saddened, considering Annie’s terminal cancer.
She remained strong and smiling to the end, but her fate loomed large in Sylvain’s mind.
“Sometimes I found it really hard,” he said. “I lived one day at a time.”
The cancer continued to spread and Annie was re-hospitalized during the final wedding preparations.
She died on April 1, and the wedding was replaced by a funeral.
“I’m proud to have remained faithful to the end,” said the still-grieving man.
He didn’t get the chance to marry his sweetheart, but said he’s relieved to know that she’s free at last.