Island woman finds unexpected love after overwhelming PTSD
COLWOOD – Lisa is carrying a bouquet of flowers on her way to visit her parents. "I grew up in a house full of love and laughter," Lisa says.
"They were my best friends and mentors."
Her parents – Freda and Ed – were married for 62 years before they died more than a decade ago, just five months apart. "My dad never introduced my mom as his wife," Lisa says with a smile. "It was always his bride."
Lisa never met 'the one.' She was happily focused on saving the many, as a paramedic. Then her life was derailed by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a resulting legal battle. "I lost everything; my home, many friends," Lisa says. "It was pretty bleak, living with cats in my car."
Lisa says she persevered, thanks to a work ethic learned from her dad, and a strong-yet-tender heart inspired by her mom. Although it took years, Lisa overcame her adversity. Then, she started an online PTSD support group, youarenotaloneptsdbc.ca.
Then – just as the worst time of her life was coming to an end – she bumped into a stranger. She literally bumped into Anthony.
"I said, 'Oh! Sorry!' And then his accent, he's Australian!," Lisa explains with a laugh. "Like, dreamy!"
Anthony had also been a first responder, fighting fires back home. "There was an instant spark," Anthony says.
They connected deeply and dated incessantly before Anthony proposed, creatively, with a ring he crafted from bent wire. "She likes the wire ring more than the actual ring I bought," Anthony laughs.
Lisa said 'yes'. But before she could say 'I do', she was reminded of her loved ones. "All girls dream of their wedding and their dress and I never did," Lisa said, crying. "I just always dreamed of my dad walking me down the aisle."
But then, Lisa just happened upon an old locket and discovered pictures of her and her dad inside. She took her picture out, put one of her mom in, and had a friend sew into her bouquet.
Lisa says she felt like she had her mom and dad with her that day.
Now, the newlyweds are following up their "wonderful" wedding with an expression of gratitude at Lisa's parent's graves. And, for the first time, Lisa can introduce Anthony as – not her husband – but her groom.