For the Timothys, their love story climaxed at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, with the distinctive smell of antiseptics wafting freely through the wards.
Last weekend, the pictures of the touching moment Timothy had married Ruth on hospital bed, went viral on social media.
Kwaor Timothy and Ruth Umdurgh, 21, met early in 2017 and shortly after, Timothy proposed marriage to the love of his life. Together, they nursed the idea of having a white wedding, with Ruth’s gown flowing gaily as she walks down the aisle and Timothy looking smart in a wine suit. And being a pastor at the Charismatic Renewal Ministry, the choice of the church to host the union fell on the branch of the ministry at Daudu, about 20 kilometres from Makurdi, the capital of Benue State.
The time was set for March 3, 2018, but on Friday, March 2, a day to the wedding, Ruth fractured her legs in an accident after a commercial motorcycle she was on was involved in an accident. She had gone to the market to get last-minute items for the wedding.
Ruth’s pains were both physical and emotional; as pain tore through her legs, her heart bled for a love that seemed to be galloping away from her. But what she didn’t know was that theirs was a fairy-tale romance, because like a knight in shining armour, Timothy’s love shone through.
Timothy assured Ruth that they would go ahead with the wedding the following day and that was what they did – at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital where she was admitted.
Narrating her experience, Ruth said, “I went to Makurdi for last-minute shopping, to get all the things left for the wedding like souvenirs. I had bought all the items and could have taken my time to return to Daudu but my hairdresser kept on calling me to come and complete my hairdo. I did not complete that before going to Makurdi, so I decided to take Okada (commercial motorcycle) to be able to meet up. On the way, I had an accident.
“The accident occurred at a police checkpoint and I was on the motorcycle taking me back to Daudu. At the checkpoint, we were asked to stop and we were in the process of stopping when another motorcycle rammed into ours. The motorcyclist that hit us was trying to avoid being hit by a speeding articulated vehicle.
“The accident occurred around 11am on Friday, March 2, 2018, a day to our wedding, which was supposed to take place at the Charismatic Renewal Ministry Church in Daudu on Saturday, March 3, 2018.”
Ruth said she broke her legs in the accident but that Timothy insisted that since all arrangements had been made for the wedding, he was not going to reschedule it and that the wedding should hold.
According to her, immediately it was decided that the wedding should hold, they started notifying their relatives and friends about the development and the change of the wedding venue.
The new bride, who could not hide her joy, said, “Before the accident, I was seriously ill and even when I was taken to a hospital, there was no improvement. But with prayers, I came back to life. So when the accident occurred, I knew that it was the plan of the devil to take my life, but God frustrated all its plans.
“It is in God that we can trust. If not for His grace, perhaps, I would have been forgotten, but I’m happy because God nullified the plan of the devil in my life. It was obvious that the plan of the devil was for me not to have had the wedding, but God said no.
“Notwithstanding that the wedding took place in the hospital here and with all that happened to me, it was so successful. I was and I’m still happy that I’m alive and that the wedding held.”
She also thanked Timothy for his love.
He had rushed to the scene of the accident, taken one look at his fiancée, who was writhing in pain, and told her that their wedding billed for the following day would go on as planned as long as she had life in her.
Timothy said, “On Friday morning, she called to tell me that she was in Makurdi to buy some things she had told me she wanted to buy. And in that period, we were calling each other and later, she told me that she had done with the shopping and was already returning to Daudu.
“Then shortly after, I called her but her phone kept ringing. Later, when someone picked up, I could hear her crying in the background. Something told me that there had been an accident; then the person that picked up the phone told me about the accident and mentioned the place.
“Initially, what came to my mind was – why – but I quickly mustered courage because it was God who asked me to marry her when I was searching for a wife. I told God and He directed me to her in the midst of many ladies around. When I heard about the accident, I told God that you did not tell me that I was going to marry a dead person, so I made up my mind that whatever her condition was, as long as she was still alive, I would go ahead and marry her.
“That was my decision and I went straight there. And shortly after, I got to the scene of the accident. The moment she saw me, she screamed, and there and then, I told her that tomorrow we are getting married and she replied by saying amen. So I persuaded her to muster courage and from there, I moved her to the teaching hospital in Makurdi. But before going to the hospital, we reported the incident at a police station nearby.”
Timothy recalled how he started calling relatives and senior pastors of his church to inform them about what happened and their decision to go ahead with the wedding.
He said, “When they all saw my courage, they also helped in telling people about what happened and that the wedding would still hold. Initially, I thought of moving her out of the hospital to have the wedding outside, but I realised that her condition was very terrible because she had multiple fractures and could not stand. And also, the hospital management said it would not allow her to be moved out of the hospital in that condition. That was when we decided to have the wedding in the hospital with the permission of the management.
“Actually, using the hospital as the wedding venue was not really a problem for me, but her situation and I thought that if we cancelled the wedding, it might worsen her condition. In fact, I was happy that the hospital management permitted us to hold the wedding there.”
Eventually, the wedding reception still held at the previous venue and some of the guests were already there while the wedding was being held at the hospital.
“So when some of the guests called that they were at the previous venue in Daudu, we told them to remain there and that the reception would still hold at the initial venue. Only the officiating ministers and few family members and friends came to the hospital. So after the wedding ceremony, the reception took place in Daudu,” he said.
However, Timothy missed having his wife beside him as he received other guests at the reception, saying, “The pain was too much for me to bear; most of the programmes of the event had to be shunned. The area where the couple ought to dance, cut the cake and do other things were ignored.”
And also, the consummation that often follows a wedding was not there on their wedding night.
Sharing the story of how his wedding night went, Timothy said, “After the reception, I went straight to the hospital to be with her. I was there for two days going up and down. And since then, I have been a regular visitor to the hospital; I go there in the morning and leave later in the day.
“They are taking care of the wounds and it is after that that they will attend to the fractures and the major problem now is fund because the bill there is running to N300,000.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Apenda Emmanuel, who is the orthopaedic specialist attending to Ruth, described her condition as critical when she was brought to the hospital, but added that she was “remarkably improving.”
“Her condition was critical because she sustained multiple fractures but now, she is getting better,” he said.