DEL CITY — 2012 was shaping up to be a terrible year for Cecil Goodrum, 50. His sister had been killed by a drunken driver in a car crash. His frail mother died when she heard the news. Goodrum was diagnosed with cancer, underwent treatment and faced spending his Christmas and New Year's holidays recovering at Grace Living Center in Del City.
When life seemed as if it just couldn't get worse for Goodrum, fate dealt him an unexpected hand: He found the love of his life.
Now married to his best friend, Goodrum looks forward to 2013 as a year to build a new life with his new wife.
Along came Polly
Goodrum never expected to find love in such a hopeless state of mind. The lifelong bachelor had pretty much given up on love long ago.
“I'm a Christian and I prayed to God that he'd bring the right person to my life,” Goodrum said. “But I'll be honest, I really gave up on life when I found out about my mom and the cancer and all that. I was ready just to lay down.”
But the moment he saw Polly McClung, 58, he said he found himself grappling with feelings he'd never experienced before.
“They say when you find that right person you'll know it,” he said. “I just knew it.”
Polly, who has since changed her last name to Goodrum, was admitted to Grace Living Center in October to recover from a broken ankle. The two immediately struck up a friendship, becoming best friends. They'd spend time together playing games, dining together and sharing long talks in the center's garden.
The couple knew that they'd found something very special in each other, and it seemed natural for the two to become engaged.
But planning a wedding is a challenge when you're recovering from serious health challenges. So the staff at Grace Living Center, especially Sarah Wylie, the home's director of social services and activities, stepped in and planned a wedding for the couple. They were married Nov. 30 at the center.
“This is definitely a unique situation and a very sweet one,” Wylie said in a news release. “Our Grace team enjoyed helping out, and it was a thrill for all of us to see them married and so happy.”
A new family
Cecil Goodrum now has a whole new family that approves of the marriage and especially appreciates the way he takes care of his new wife. He dotes on her, making sure she has anything she needs. Even Polly's snobby cat, who came to live with her at Grace, took an instant liking to her new husband.
“We both feel that God brought us together,” Cecil Goodrum said, his arm wrapped tightly around his wife's shoulders. “She's not only my wife now, she's my best friend. She's my everything. She's my whole life.”
Though she doesn't speak much because of a stroke, there's no mistaking the obvious joy Polly Goodrum feels when she beams at her new husband.
The Goodrums share their love story to inspire hope for the future in people who may have lost theirs.
“Never give up on love. There's always that special someone out there for everybody,” Cecil Goodrum said.