Kristie & Ben
This vow renewal is filled with the purest of love and all the emotions. Kristie and Ben, who originally eloped on June 29, 2019, renewed their vows a year later. “We decided we would renew our vows each year like the day of our wedding, because love like this must be celebrated every year, not just once,” says Kristie. The couple didn’t think their renewal would go ahead this year, as six weeks ago Ben was given three days to live, diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer. With lifesaving surgery, Ben was able to still be here to celebrate with Kristie. The couple renewed their vows in their new home, surrounded by their children, celebrant, photographer, Kristie’s twin sister and neighbour, while live streaming on Facebook for all their friends and family. Below, Kristie shares her and Ben’s love story and why this day means so much to them.
Ben and I met in the year 2016. I was a single mum, he was a single builder who worked at the coal mines. We are both personal development coaches. Ben stumbled across a motivational video I had made on Facebook and said to himself, “I’m going to make her mine.” Ben lived in Rockhampton, Queensland, and I lived in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. Ben and I started talking via phone and then we met during our ‘Neuro Linguistic Programming Trainers training’ in Sydney. It was not love at first sight. Just a week before, we were going to meet for the first time, but Ben got cold feet and called it off! Well, that literally broke my heart in two. But it wasn’t before long that God the beautiful creator stepped in and brought us back together. Now, one marriage, three kids and Ben’s cancer diagnosis later, we are a force to be reckoned with.
Ben’s dying wish is to leave memories to our children. He has in fact now written a book on his journey, (named “Healing Life With Cancer”) and also my perspective of my husband dying from cancer leaving me to raise three kids. What I thought would be the most magical of times in our life, where we have everything we ever dreamed of, was shattered with the news. But now we live to make memories and cherish the smallest of moments with our children. We live very simply and go about our days turning the fear of death and cancer into love.
We are all in fact big balls of energy and love, and Ben my beautiful husband has showed me this. I’m the luckiest lady to walk this Earth because I met and married Ben and share a family with him.
I chose a huge fairy floss pink tulle wedding gown with my husband and children, six weeks after giving birth to my daughter. My now 10-year-old son said, “Mum, put this one on.” Reluctantly I did, and it was magical. That was the dress. My daughter wore the same pink skirt, made from the train of mine. Ben chose a very beautiful tailored suit because the husband deserves the best as well.
We had our vow renewal at our home because Ben and I bought it together and every day we spend in it is a new memory we can keep forever. And it reminds me in our toughest days through Ben’s cancer journey, that our love was witnessed by everyone.
Being surrounded by love, people, balloons and our children made our renewal so special.
Deanne Crowder was our photographer. I literally saw her the night before on my friend’s Facebook, messaged her and she came the next day to capture our memories. She was beautiful, and captured the most precious photos I could have ever asked for.
We did a tree planting ceremony to mark Ben’s wishes if he was to pass. He wants to be buried under an apple tree. So we bought a beautiful Pink Lady apple tree and as a whole family we planted his tree with a beautiful ceremony and balloon release that signifies he will always be with us and that together we grow every day and change as the seasons do. Going where the wind takes us. It was very emotional, loving and beautiful.
My advice for newlyweds? Love in a union of evolution. Lean in and stay when the water gets rough. Learn to surf the waves, just know if your intentions come from a place of love, you will give love and receive more love. When in fear or times of pain, fights or conflict, that’s a message from God to show more love because we project out our unconscious fears and anger onto those closest to us. Together you can encourage and uplift each other when one is down and out. Always be kind, even if you don’t want to be. If you can’t be kind, walk away, gather yourself and take time to heal yourself and start again. Never make a decision in an emotion state, and never promise anything in a state of joy.