When John Polo's wife, Michelle, was first diagnosed with cancer, the two rushed to the courthouse to get married before she underwent major surgery, not knowing if she would make it through.
After her cancer came back and doctors discovered it was terminal, they planned a "real wedding" that she unfortunately never made it to.
In a post to his Facebook page, Better Not Bitter Widower, Polo revealed that he recently found a photo of Michelle in the wedding dress that he never got to see her wear.
"She loved that dress SO much," he wrote. "While at hospice, she would talk to people about how great the wedding was going to be. She wasn't coherent enough to realise that she wasn't going to make it to there. Michelle died without me ever seeing her in that dream dress."
But a week after she passed away, Polo found a photo of her wearing the dress in her phone, which he posted to his Facebook page.
"I lay motionless in bed, both happy and devastated," he wrote. "Tears flowing down my cheeks as I laughed aloud at the memory of how giddy it made her."
According to his website, Polo and his wife met in high school, where they dated for one year before separating. Eight years later, they reunited, but Michelle was diagnosed with cancer two years after their reunion. She passed away in January 2016, and Polo has been maintaining his blog as a means of grieving as well as a way to help others cope with grief.
Though Michelle never got to wear the dress to her wedding, Polo told Scary Mommy that he is saving it for her daughter — his step-daughter. He's continuing to share his story, he said, in hopes of helping those who are dealing with loss.
"I hope that they can see that they are not alone in their journey," he told Scary Mommy. "I hope that they can see that survival is possible. And that after we survive it, we can actually live again."
Refinery29 has reached out to Polo for comment, and will update this article when we receive a response.
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