A river of tears have been shed across our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and other tragedies.
But Friday afternoon at Centerpoint Medical Center, tears of joy ushered in a memorable wedding ceremony that was a bit different than the one Melonne and Mike McBride had planned.
The couple had set May 15 as their wedding day. They had visited with Pastor Ricky Turner about a quiet wedding at his church office with no fanfare, just a few family members.
But all that changed three weeks ago when Mike, a civilian worker at the Kansas City Police Department, was struck by a vehicle while he was driving to work early in the morning.
"We thought we were going to lose Mike," said Courtney Wilson, the mother of Mike’s bride to be. "He suffered a broken leg, several broken ribs and – what we didn’t know at the time – severe internal injuries."
When McBride arrived at Centerpoint Medical Center at 3 a.m., Dr. Jared Smith was called.
"I got the call around 3 a.m.," said Smith, who said McBride’s abdominal issues were his main concern, because of internal bleeding and other issues. "I said a prayer with my wife, who was awake after the phone call, and we both prayed that it would all go well."
Which it did.
Now, three weeks later, on a lower patio at the hospital, that May 15 wedding took place thanks to Lauren Smith, the program director of Centerpoint’s rehabilitation center, some generous donors and hospital staff.
Mike and Mellone were surprised with a multi-tiered wedding cake, punch, decorations and family members – with the total number of guests falling well below the maximum number of 10 people that could attend any event in Eastern Jackson County.
Tears began to streak Mike’s face as he was brought into the ceremony in a wheelchair as he saw the couple’s 5-year-old son Gregory, and other family members.
"Mike is a tough guy, he never cries," Melonne said. "When I saw him crying when he saw Gregory, I knew this meant the world to him – to both of us.
"We can never thank Lauren and the staff at the hospital for doing this. This is like a dream come true. First, to have Mike with us following that accident and second, to have our wedding on our wedding day.
"And this is ever better than any of us could have ever imagined."
Many of the ER staff and Dr. Smith watched the wedding ceremony from the sidewalk high above the lower patio.
"It was a special occasion," Dr. Smith said. "They are such a wonderful family, and Mike has been through so much. This is just perfect."
Lauren Smith, the rehab program director, agreed.
"Amazing, just amazing," Smith said. "We have done some pretty amazing things in our rehab center, and this is one of them. First, Dr. Smith is just an amazing surgeon, and because the rehab center is on site here at Centerpoint, he was able to come over and see how Mike was doing.
"And I know it meant the world to Mike and his family to have Dr. Smith here today. And we found out that this was Mike and Melonne’s planned wedding day, so we went to work.
"Thanks to our staff and some wonderful patrons, we were able to provide a special wedding for two special people. We see the acute side of rehab, and then we see this side and it is so wonderful."
Mike sat in his wheelchair, with his crutches by his side during the ceremony, which ended with an embrace, rather than a kiss, as all guests and Mike and Mellone wore masks.
"It’s exciting, I am thrilled, happy, it is one of the best days of my life," Mike said after the emotional ceremony. "We didn’t plan anything like this, and we owe Dr. Smith and all the staff at Centerpoint so much.
"Truly, one of the most blessed days of our lives."