John Polo, a young widower from Illinois, recently made a discovery on his late wife’s phone that took his breath away.
“That’s my wife. In her wedding dress. A wedding dress that I never got to see her in,” the 31-year-old author began in Facebook post published on Thursday, August 31. In the accompanying photo, Michelle Polo, poses in a beaded white gown, a huge smile plastered across her face.
The high school sweethearts were married at a courthouse in July 2013, four days after Michelle was diagnosed with rare and aggressive cancer called proximal-type epitheliod sarcoma. “We rushed there. To become man and wife. Not knowing if she would make it out of the surgery alive.”
Michelle survived. But in 2016, the cancer returned. It had spread to her liver, ovary, tailbone and lung and it was terminal. “We decided to plan a real wedding,” John wrote on Facebook. That ‘real wedding’ was set to take place on February 6, 2016 at The Ivy in downtown Chicago. “Michelle was supposed to walk down the aisle to ‘At Last’ by Etta James,” John tells Us Weekly. “Our first dance was supposed to be Unchained Melody.”
But Michelle died on January 22, just two weeks before the ceremony. She was 30 years old.
“I have so many regrets. Not getting to see her walk down the aisle is atop that list. But, she got that dress. Her dream dress. She loved that dress SO much,” John shared in his post. “While at hospice, she would talk to people about how great the wedding was going to be. She wasn’t coherent enough to realize that she wasn’t going to make it to there.”
When the Better Not Bitter Widower blogger stumbled across the picture of his bride, he was overcome with emotion. “I lay motionless in bed, both happy and devastated . . . tears flowing down my cheeks as I laughed aloud at the memory of how giddy it made her,” he typed. “My bride. In her dress . . . When it is my time, I am running up there. No — I am sprinting up there! To see her. #in #that #dress.”
John plans to print the photo out and give it to Michelle’s daughter. “Michelle was literally the most beautiful person I’ve ever known,” he says. “She had a very, very rough life, yet you would never know it. She always smiled, even at the end. She was hilarious, but without trying to be. She was an incredible mom.”
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