With perhaps only months left to live, intensive care patient Guenther Grauer has married the love of his life at Blacktown Hospital after more than two decades together.
Their death-defying act of love in tying the knot was described as “bitter sweet” by the bride Sharon Budd who confessed that ex-truckie Guenther was the love of her life.
Sharon walked into the small, covered courtyard opposite the intensive care ward, a bouquet in her hand, to laughter and tears of welcome from the assembled crowd of friends, family and staff.
Guenther, who arrived in Australia from Stuttgart aged three, sat waiting at the opposite end of the courtyard for his bride in his “limousine”, a wheelchair decorated with coloured ribbons and bows.
After the exchange of rings, Guenther was asked why he had waited so long to pop the question.
“I had to take a bit of time to make sure I was getting it right,” he joked.
Not only was the ceremony a delight for the couple, it also came a day before Guenther’s 67th birthday.
“I love him to death,” Sharon said.
“It is bittersweet, very sad but very sweet.
“He means the world to me and I don’t know what I am going to do without him.
“We got engaged in 2016 but he found out he had cancer. We hoped he was going to get better but he hasn’t.”
Guenther’s spirit and humour lit up the wedding ceremony. As the celebrant Vanessa Leigh conducted the celebration, Guenther was a veritable fountain of one liners to the delight of the gathering.
An aside as to the cooking prowess of his new wife, brought a loving smack.
A resident of western Sydney, the indomitable Guenther said of his diagnosis “it is what it is”.
“I’m a realist; it might be weeks, it might be months,” he said.
“I’ve had a good life. People here (at the hospital) have been wonderful.“