Elderly Couple Cancels Honeymoon To Give Generous Gift To Neighborhood

Chisom Ndianefo
Close-up shot of an Elderly couple
Shutterstock | 52013

Love, they say, is a beautiful feeling as it's never too late to find love; even Jim Nelis found love after four decades. After Jim's wife passed away, He had lost hope of finding love again, however, the universe had plans for him as he found love in the 66-year-old Maureen.

Jim lost his wife 40 years ago and was gradually slipping into depression which worried his family and convinced him to try and enjoy a night out. But he could never have anticipated that when he eventually consented to leave the house to appease his relatives, he would run into Maureen.

Keep reading for all the details.

How Jim And Maureen Found Love Again

The pair met via their shared love of music and gardening, and their relationship quickly grew. At the beginning of the year, Jim, 84, and Maureen, 66, got married in Londonderry.

However, what started as a suggestion to put flowers on their street rather than use the money for a honeymoon has grown into something neither of them could have anticipated.

"I never dreamed that I would meet anyone like Maureen," said Jim, who has two grown-up daughters and a son.

Caring For 25 years

Jim recalled his 40-year marriage to Kathleen and the 25 years he spent caring for her. It wasn't the simplest assignment, though, as his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and then came along with other illnesses, like osteoporosis, which meant he had to take care of her.

Losing Touch Of The World

Jim noticed that as a caretaker, he was becoming increasingly cut off from the outer world.

When Kathleen's health deteriorated, and he found himself spending less and less time outside the house, he was eventually compelled to quit his job as a maintenance worker for the now-defunct Western Education and Library Board.

Caring For Kathleen

After spending so many years providing for his wife, losing her was a heartbreaking blow to Jim, and when she passed away, he accepted that he would be living alone for the rest of his days.

How Jim Got Over His Wife's Death

Backyard garden
Unsplash | Marta Bibi

He found refuge in his garden, caring for the flowers, lawn, and shrubs there, rarely leaving and growing increasingly depressed over time. As his family began to worry more and more about him, Jim's brother Joe persuaded him to spend the evening at the Iona Inn, located just outside of Londonderry's downtown, to listen to some live music.

He met Joe's buddy Maureen, who was also out for the evening, and the two hit it off immediately.

Having Something In Common

In addition to sharing a love of music and gardening, they also learned that each other had recently become widows, which deepened their bond.

Even though Jim claimed to have known from the beginning that he wanted to ask Maureen out, it took him some time to work up the nerve. Maureen was always with friends, so he couldn't find a time when they would both be alone.

Maureen Looked After Her Late Husband Too

Like Jim, Maureen also lost her musician husband of 23 years, Bill Mellon, to cancer. Like Jim, Maureen had taken care of her husband throughout his sickness. She felt that she and Jim were led by one another and was devastated by his passing.

"Bill was unwell for about two and a half years but I never really thought about what would happen afterwards," she said. However, I often think that Kathleen steered Jim to me, and Bill steered me towards Jim.

"We feel very lucky to have found each other and that Kathleen and Bill would have approved."

Leaving Honeymoon Out of The Picture

After accepting Jim's proposal, they started planning their special day. It was decided to take place on January 16, 2018, and to honeymoon in Florence, Italy, after that.

However, they decided to spend their honeymoon funds on something entirely different before having a private wedding ceremony at St. Columba's Church, Long Tower.

And that is how the concept for remodeling Abercorn Terrace developed.

Re-inventing Their Neighbourhood

"We could have spent all our money on a honeymoon, and yes, we would have seen some beautiful sights, but this way we get to enjoy something beautiful every day."

Maureen and Jim changed the region and increased its appeal to locals and tourists alike, making it a well-liked tourism destination in the city. Additionally, they mentioned how their neighbor assisted them with their gardening and how they later started sending them cards. The Jim and Maureen show was so outstanding that it took home first place in the residential division of the City Center Initiative Annual Floral Competition.

The pair is undoubtedly pleased with their achievements and prefers what they did for the neighborhood.