Friday, July 30, 2010

White 9 wedding offers comforting last moments

A wedding moment to remember: From left, Porter, Wollison and Labourene

Wedding bells were ringing through the hallways of White 9 on June 24 when Susan Wollison and Richard Porter exchanged their vows in the inpatient room of Susan's mother, Marcia Labourene. The impromptu wedding, originally planned for June 27, was rescheduled at the suggestion of the MGH palliative care team caring for Labourene, 91, who was struggling with a debilitating pulmonary disease. Labourene and her daughter worked with the staff of White 9 to arrange the wedding so that Labourene would be able to witness her daughter's nuptials in person, something very important to both mother and daughter.

"This is the best thing I could ever give to my mother," said Wollison. "The fact that she was able to be here to witness how much love Richard and I share and that we will be forever happy was her biggest gift to me."

The groom's lifelong friend John E. Ligums, a justice of the peace, flew to Boston from Houston to officiate the ceremony with a Bible provided at the last minute by MGH Chaplaincy. In addition to the beaming mother of the bride, eight other family members of both the bride and groom attended the bedside ceremony. Sadly, Labourene, who had shown a renewed sense of happiness following the wedding, died July 8. She proudly said at the wedding, "This means the world to me. To have my entire family gathered with me is the best gift ever."

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