BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WPRI) — Kenneth Bowen needed some extra therapy to walk his little girl down the aisle to give her a wedding to remember.
“This about the right spot,” his wife Shirley said as she carefully pinned a boutonniere to his shirt. “We’ve been married 53 years.”
“How’s that look,” she asked right before he nodded. “You look handsome.”
Nearby, one of his eight children and the youngest of his three daughters, Stephanie, is getting ready for her big day.
“I’m excited,” she said with a smile.
The Bowen’s son-in-law Daniel Cozzi?
“Nervous? Yeah, a little bit,” he said as he secured his bow tie. “It means a lot to her. It means a lot to me.”
“You ready?” Stephanie said shortly after her father lifted himself out of his wheelchair.
“No worries,” she told him after a few steps. “We have all day.”
Around Father’s Day, as the Bowens realized Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s had too firm of a grip on the 89-year-old father of the bride, they came up with a new plan.
Since he was not in strong enough condition to make it to their wedding in Connecticut last Saturday, they took the wedding to him at Bayberry Commons in Pascoag the next day.
“Especially with him not being around to do too much,” Stephanie said. “Something that gets brought to him so he can enjoy everything with everybody.”
“At the end, his words to her were, ‘Stephanie, I’ve never had a day dedicated just to me,'” Shirley said. “She couldn’t have given him a better Father’s Day present.”
The walk was slow, but Mr. Bowen’s slight grin at the end of the aisle and the nearby tears in the eyes of family and friends said everything he couldn’t.
“So thrilled, so excited and so proud,” Shirley said. “Not only of her, but also of him, that he was able to get through his therapy to accomplish this to give her away.”
“How you doing?” Stephanie asked afterward.
“Glad I made it,” her father said in a hushed and fragile voice.
“Me too,” she said.
When asked which wedding was her favorite, Stephanie was diplomatic, saying she loved both.
But she did give a slight edge to one of the special days.
“Him right next to me, being able to walk down the aisle and give me away to the man I love, was one of the best things I could’ve asked for,” she said with a big smile.