● By Wendy Sipple
Photos by K. Walker Photography.
Many people live by the old adage that life really begins when you find true love. Don and Susan Greenwood have proven that the reality of this saying holds true at any age.
The two met at Covell Gardens Retirement Facility in Davis, where they were each receiving care after suffering strokes. Susan, who was 50 at the time and had never been married, said that she felt an “unexpected spark” when she first met Don, and for Don, at age 61, the feeling was mutual, although he teases that she grew on him.
After a short courtship, in the middle of the dining hall at the facility, Don asked Susan’s mother, who was also receiving care at Covell Gardens, for permission to marry Susan. Susan’s mother, the residents, and the staff were all thrilled for the happy couple. After knowing each other for just five months, they married on Valentine’s Day among more than 200 guests.
Although they were both in wheelchairs and in need of care, Don promised Susan that he would get her out of the treatment facility so that they could have more independence. Don kept his promise and the two now live in an apartment with their dog Casper. “I never thought I would ever be able to have another dog,” Susan remarks sentimentally.
Initially, Susan wasn’t ready to come out of the facility; she needed a lot of care and wasn’t sure she could be as independent as she is now. Don says, “I worked with her and she has now proven to herself and her family that she is strong and capable.” What would normally take one person just a few minutes, takes the two of them together much longer; but they are grateful to have one another. They are both recovering wonderfully and Don even plans to start driving soon. While they are still in wheelchairs, Don says that, “life has returned to the way it was before we had strokes.”
The strokes that they suffered left them each paralyzed on opposite sides, which Don says symbolizes their marriage; “Together, we are one person, and that’s what marriage is all about.” •