No one is given a guarantee of their time on this planet. No one knows when they will see their last sunset, say their final goodbye, or draw their last breath.
All any of us can do is make the best use of the short time allotted to us. One young couple did just that earlier this week, even though their joy was pinned against the dark backdrop of the inevitable.
Lydia Dominguez, a 19-year-old, and Joshua Ordoñez, 21, had met online and quickly become deeply attached. The two were good for each other, and Ordoñez admitted that Dominguez got to him in a way no one else ever had.
But the starry-eyed couple soon learned that cancer was threatening to break them apart.
“We got together and we were happy,” said Ordoñez. “And then we found out she was getting sick again. We just didn’t focus too much on that. We focused on how we could make each other happy in the days that we had together.”
It wasn’t long before it became clear that Dominguez’s stay at El Paso Children’s Hospital would be her final one.
One of those ways was to fulfill Dominguez’s wish of getting married. In fact, as the prognosis grew more and more grim, that became her dying wish.
And Ordoñez delivered. He proposed on Monday, Feb. 12, and within hours the two were putting together a hospital ceremony with the help of their family and friends.
“She broke out in tears and then said yes,” Ordoñez said. “So I guess yes, that is the hesitation. But other than that, she said yes, right away,”
Dominguez wore a beautiful white dress, had her hair and makeup done, and accented her outfit with a bouquet of red roses and matching red hospital socks. Even though she was still hooked up to machines, nothing was going to stop her from walking down the aisle.
It didn’t matter that the aisle was in a hospital: the people and love present at the modest ceremony made the inhospitable surroundings take on a new warmth.
Surrounded by those most important to them, the lovebirds exchanged vows. While there was no license involved, which some pointed out doesn’t legally make the event a wedding, it was very real for Dominguez and Ordoñez, and the two made their vows before witnesses.
Ordoñez later said in an interview that he was committed to her: that no matter what, he’d be there for her until either of them took their last breath. They just didn’t know how soon that would be at the time.
When asked why she went through with the ceremony so close to death’s doorstep, Dominguez’s answer was short, sweet, and perfect: “Because I love him.”
Dominguez made it to Wednesday morning. Valentine’s Day.
“This morning (Lydia) woke up and said she was hot and she needed to do her hair,” said a UMC spokeswoman. “So mom put up her hair in a bun.
“She got a bit weak afterwards and laid down she turned to look at her husband and smiled. She sat up and gave him the biggest hug. She then laid back down and all her family told her it was okay — she could let go. And in two breaths, she was gone.”
Despite the sorrow of losing a loved one, Ordoñez and Dominguez’s family can rest assured that they gave her the sendoff of her dreams.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.