December 16, 2020
Jessica and David have by no means had an easy start to a love story (or a wedding year for that matter -thanks 2020!). But I believe that it is all the more beautiful because of the many challenges they have already overcome together. They met in January 2018 and shared a love for traveling and exploring new places, and both come from practicing Jewish families. Jess is a professional vocalist and David works in finance, with an impressive tennis background. They are both fun, kind, and adventurous people who hit it off right away. Jess tells the rest of their story better than I ever could, so here is a bit of it, written by her:
“June 8, 2018 I was out at trivia with some theatre friends when I got a call from David saying that he was having horrible chest pains. I rushed to his house and drove him to the Piedmont ER. After hours of waiting, he had a stroke in the waiting room of the ER. It turned out that he had suffered a still-inexplicable aortic dissection and as his body had tried to stop the internal bleeding from his heart, a clot ended up traveling to his carotid artery and caused a massive right side stroke.
I felt as though the world was being ripped from underneath me as the surgeon came in to tell us that he would be rushed into an open-heart surgery with a very low chance of survival. I said “I love you” for the first time as he was being rushed through the OR doors.
Seven of the longest hours of my life later, we received the miraculous news that he had made it through surgery. However, we were far from out of the woods. They ended up having to helicopter him to Emory that night to perform brain surgery, and we spent the next three weeks in the Emory Neuro ICU where it seemed like his family and I were on the worst roller coaster of all time, coming close to losing our guy more times than we’d like to remember. When David finally was able to come to a bit, he was accepted to Shepherd Center where he spent the next four months inpatient. His mom stayed with him through the hospitalization process, but I spent every waking moment I could with him, even if I was only allowed to sit outside his door. We will certainly never take for granted just saying “goodnight” after so many nights of having to say “goodbye” as I had to leave and go home to our empty house.
He is still working on getting his left side mobility back and as much as every day is a struggle, every day is a step forward in the right direction. We spend a lot of time at home working on physical, occupational, and speech therapies and using all kinds of braces and electric stimulation. Never once in this entire process have I heard him complain. He is dedicated beyond words and does everything he can to get better, no matter how physically or mentally taxing. He takes my meltdowns in stride and tolerates my assertiveness for him to push himself and throw caution to the wind with grace.
David moved back into our house after his year-long recovery in hospitals and then his parents’ house on May 10th. He had been discharged from formal physical therapy the day before and we were ecstatic to try living a normal-ish life together in our own place. He very uncharacteristically woke up super early on Saturday the 11th, spouting off things like “Carpe Diem!” and “Gotta keep up the therapy at home!” I reluctantly got out of bed and went downstairs to start breakfast. I was elbow deep in an avocado toast endeavor when I was a little annoyed to get a text from David upstairs to say that he had been trying to work on a kneeling exercise from his PT that he was unable to get up from, could I come to help him. I trudged upstairs and helped him get his left leg through so he was on one knee. He reached into his pocket and said “Well, while I’m down here…” then proceeded to say all kinds of wonderful things – namely that we had made it through the “In sickness” part, let’s try “in health” together for the rest of our lives.
Through everything that we have had to and continue to go through he still makes me feel like I’m the luckiest and most loved girl in the world every single day. Life has given us a whole bunch of lemons, and we are slowly but surely turning them into the sweetest lemonade.”
I am astounded by the strength and grit that this couple has together and I hate that COVID had to further complicate their wedding day. But, as they do, Jess and David faced the pandemic with grace and courage and made adjustments so that they could celebrate with their family in the safest way possible. I was bummed that they had to switch to having a “backyard wedding”, but there was no reason to be. The wedding that took place at her parents’ Oconee home was as beautiful as any I’d ever seen. We loved experiencing the many Jewish traditions they shared. Of course, there was the breaking of the glass during the ceremony, and the lifting of the bride and groom on chairs during the reception (which is always fun). Some new traditions we witnessed were the Tish – a gathering of the men and women separately followed by an unveiling of the bride, leading into the signing of the Ketubah before the ceremony. Following the ceremony, the couple observed yichud with a private moment alone. I love how meaningful and intentional these moments were!
I’m sad that all of their family and friends couldn’t be there in person, but I’m so honored to share these moments for all to see. Congratulations, Jess & David, and thank you so much for sharing your story with us!
Wedding Coordinator: Caty DeLaigle with Whitewood Events // Florist: Gardenia Floral // Catering: Trumps Catering // Band: Atlanta Wedding Band // Hair and Makeup: Bombshell Creations // Wedding Dress: I Do I Do Bridal