Somewhere over the rainbow
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true
“Somewhere Over The Rainbow" – lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Scott and Rebekah. Their love story first introduced on Facebook, but as all stories, there was a beginning long before we were aware. Scott was contacted by someone who knew Rebekah. The individual asked Scott if he would help a young woman with Duchenne who felt isolated and alone. She needed a friend. And who would be a better friend than Scott Sands?
Scott was tentative, Rebekah as well. But those first short snips of conversation evolved into long talks, texts, Skype, and plans to meet. They were first friends, then best friends, became lovers, and in August, husband and wife.
In August 2012, Rebekah arrived in Florida. For Rebekah, a series of firsts – first international flight, first trip to the US, first time meeting the parents (Nick and Lucy), and first kiss. Scott and Rebekah had it all planned. They had planned the ceremony, the marriage of their hearts.
I arrived in Florida just shortly after Rebekah. We were celebrating Scott’s birthday, the arrival of Rebekah, and the joy of being together. I walked into Scott’s room to find Rebekah next to him, her hand in his. I might have looked a bit anxious (well, ok I was anxious, the anxiety of a mom, though in this case a dear, dear friend, but worried nonetheless), always worrying about the next day, next hour, what happens next. Scott smiled and said: “I love Rebekah. We know more about each other than most couples. It is enough to have her at my side, to love her, to touch her hand, and to know that she completes me and I complete her. It is enough for me and the greatest gift of my life.” Rebekah, smiling and content, talked about her flight, the ventilator confiscated in security, her friend/care giver bag breathing her for several hours during the long flight. But nothing in the world mattered more than seeing Scott. Nothing, not even breathing, would get in her way.
Rebekah returned to Manchester, UK several weeks after. In a few weeks, she would return to Florida to celebrate the holidays. Scott and Rebekah shared Christmas together. Soon after Scott got sick. He was hospitalized. Rebekah was at his side every day, all day.
I was in Florida on January 6. Scott was home. I went to visit. It was clear, Scott was struggling, spending most of the day in bed. Rebekah was next to him, sitting in her chair, her head next to his on his pillow. She was watching over Scott, whispering words of love to him, insisting he keep going, that he wait for her, that she was his, and that she would be with him, always and forever.
When we had a moment alone, she talked about ‘jumping’, that she and Scott would ‘jump’ together. Confused by the term and thinking this was perhaps lovely UK terminology, I asked her to explain. She said ‘jumping’ was dying, that she would not live without Scott. We cried together that day, wishing there would be time, more time, and some magic that give them more time together. I left that day, thankful, praying for more time.
90 days later, her VISA required she return home. She was spent. She developed pneumonia, was hospitalized, and soon after required a tracheotomy. When Scott died, I remembered our conversation about ‘jumping’ and I worried. I worried she would not go on without her Scott.
Rebekah and Scott. You have taught us well. That dreams come true. That love conquers all, even Duchenne. That it is better to have loved and lost, than never have loved at all.
You are now together again.
We miss your brave heart.
Passing through, passing through.
Sometimes happy, sometimes blue,
Glad that I ran into you.
“Passing Through” – lyrics by Leonard Cohen