Dying Man and His Wife Celebrate Final Anniversary Dinner Planned by Family

There are plenty of milestones we hit in our lives: birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries — we’ll find any reason to party with family, friends and good food.

But as life winds down and comes to a close, each of those milestones becomes incredibly important because they are the final opportunities we get to celebrate with loved ones.

Ronnie and Carol Bell have been married for nearly three decades, but before they could get there, Ronnie was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer.

According to Inside Edition, they’ve known of his condition since 2016, but just recently his case had become more severe, and Ronnie came home to spend the rest of his days in familiar surroundings.

Seeing her husband in this state has been hard for Carol, but that doesn’t keep her from spending every moment by his side.

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“You can tell it’s getting closer to his time,” Carrie Vessels, their daughter, said. “My mom is just taking it one day at a time. She cries a lot.”

It became clear that the loving couple wouldn’t make it to their 30th anniversary, so Vessels and some other family members decided to make their 29th anniversary something to remember.

They were also keenly aware of the mood that had settled on the house and wanted to bring back some joy to the Bells, if only for a few moments.

“We knew it was going to be their last anniversary and we didn’t want that day to be just about death,” Vessels said.

When Carol and Ronnie headed to the bathroom for a few minutes, the family got to work. They spread a purple tablecloth on the table, set a bouquet of flowers on it, lit a candle and set the table.

“When they came out,” Vessels said, “the music was playing and the candles lit. Then we all went outside for them to have their own private dinner. My mom just sobbed.”

The couple’s first dance song, “Close Enough to Perfect,” was played and their family used their wedding colors for the table. The two had an evening to remember.

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The attentive family even made sure that the meal selections were the couple’s favorites: chicken tenders for Carol and a BLT club sandwich for Ronnie.

“They wake up, they go to bed together, they do everything together. They’ll stop for a kiss or a hug,” Vessels said. “They love each other so much.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking