This was the response I got from Tamara when she won my '500th fan' prize of a free photo shoot. The reaction was enough to get me keen to photograph this girl. Then she told me that their wedding at The Windmills had rained out resulting in a cancelled creative shoot and no wedding photos of them together. Any bride whose gone through this deserves a second chance at wedding pics. As we started planning our shoot through an email conversation, I learnt more about Tamara and her husband Derek and what marriage has been for them so far – and my heart pours out to them.
Three months after their wedding (Which was in December 2011), the couple got into a very bad car accident. They thought that their worst problem was a written off car. A month of two later Derek saw an optometrist for head-aches and blurry vision and suddenly he was on the operating table having a cyst removed from his brain. The first op was unsuccessful and during the second, Derek’s heart stopped for a while. They were able to save him though and remove the cyst, however an hour after the surgery he suffered a stroke, which left him paralyzed down the left side of his body. He was now forced to learn to walk again, hold things, lift things. Derek was adamant that through all this, he was going to loose his wife too but Tamara was going nowhere!
3 years on and the couple are living on a quaint dairy farm in Nottingham Road. Derek is up early tending to the cows and farm, but exhausted by 7pm and unable to maintain his energy. Tamara teaches in Howick and comes home after quite the commute to an exhausted husband. BUT, she tells me, “We are a lot closer and value each other far more than we did, but our life style has changed! Derek's short-term memory is very weak and he is constantly tired! He often can't remember what he did in the morning or the day before!
Although we have had a tough first year of marriage and nearly lost each other, we are more in love with each other now than we have been in the 7 years we have known each other! “
Now isn’t that a story of courage, commitment and love? Normally when I hear things like this I just want to cry – but Tamara and Derek are so strong and so matter-of-fact about what their life is and what needs to be done. It is really inspiring.