In Wisconsin, ‘love is bigger than death’

A couple in Wisconsin faced every bride and groom’s nightmare on Friday.

Nick Eckes’ mother and grandmother were killed in a wrong-way crash on State 57 in Appleton while on their way to the wedding rehearsal and traditional rehearsal dinner.

His father and sister were in the same car, were injured, and hospitalized in Green Bay.

Now Nick and his soon-to-be wife, Danielle, faced the decision: Proceed with the wedding or postpone it?

They went ahead with it, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says.

“They decided they wanted to make a statement that love is bigger than death and death doesn’t win, life goes on,” Thews said. “So they went forward with the wedding on Saturday and it was really one of the most powerful and emotional things I’ve ever experienced in my life.”

When Danielle was bracing herself to walk down the aisle in tears, Thews didn’t know if she’d be able to do it. But she drew strength from Nick and ran to meet him at the front, where they hugged, he said.

The healing began in that moment.

“To see their love and to hear their promises to one another, it just has a new meaning, for better or for worse,” Thews said.

The decision to go forward with the wedding stemmed from their Christian faith, he said, and the belief that death is not the end. Knowing that makes it easier to live life.

“Although they weren’t with us physically, I’m telling you, when we were there at that service, the wedding service, you could just feel their love,” Thews said. “We knew they were there with us and the love that we had with them and the love that we shared with the family and friends that were there at the service was just a real healing already.”

The driver of the wrong-way vehicle, Todd J. Beyer, 38, of Green Bay also died in the crash.