This story is about to melt your insides. Below is a picture of 30 year-old Julia Napolitano and her mother, Linda Napolitano. Linda is 66 years old, and was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 60.
Julia was, rightfully, saddened and unprepared to plan her special day and be at the wedding without her mom beside her. Linda’s condition has worsened dramatically since her diagnosis, as she can no longer recognize her daughter or her husband, Umberto. She is also no longer able to speak.
Julia said this about her mother;
“I’m an only child, so taking care of my mom has always been in the back of my mind. But as a girl in my 20s, to hear that my mom had been diagnosed with this horrible disease … you just think, ‘Oh my gosh. No.'”
With that being said, Julia decided to put things into action – for herself and for her mom;
“She may not be the same person in every sense, but she is alive, and we need to share that life, even if it’s only for a short amount of time.”
Unfortunately, moving her mom from Silverado, where she lives with an Alzheimer community, was not the right option. Linda had become used to Silverado, and to take away what she knows best was too cruel. So, Julia and her now-husband, Justin Phillips, took the wedding to her!
After the couple said their vows, a program was handed out to all of the guests, stating that there was going to be a gathering at her mother’s home before the reception. Julia had expected a few to come along, but was shocked when almost the entire guest list had arrived.
The whole wedding marched in, with Julia being the last to enter;
“I walked in, and the crowds parted, and then they brought Mom around the corner. That moment — when she got to see me in my dress … I can’t describe the feeling.”
The family is uncertain if Linda knew what was happening, but Julia says they could all tell that she knew something special was going on.
“What was really magical was the moment when she danced with my dad,” said Napolitano. “They swayed to the music, and as you can imagine, it was extremely emotional. He always assumed she would be there to give away their only daughter.”
What makes this story even MORE special, is that they included everyone at Silverado. The whole community dressed up for the day, danced to some music, and ate some wedding cake. Since the November 7th wedding, Linda has been in good spirits, and seems relatively stable.