In the Spring of 2007, a couple had booked their wedding at the ceremony hall. 3 months before the date, the groom had called in requesting to keep their reservation “on hold.” Years passed without a word from the groom. In 2014, the staff at the ceremony hall receive a phone call. It was from that groom. They learn for the first time the most aching story of forbearance behind this long “hold.” The groom’s love and his belief in a miracle, made many Japanese cry.
Hisashi Nishizawa and Mai Nakahara from Okayama met for the first time 10 years ago. They got engaged on their second anniversary, and booked a date for their wedding at the Arverir Geihinkan in Okayama city, for March, 2007. Everything was going as planned, until a tragedy occurred.
About three months before their wedding, Mai started acting strangely. She couldn’t remember what she did that day, and began screaming uncontrollably during the night. She was taken to hospital, and was immediately admitted to the psychiatric section. Three days later, her condition suddenly changed, and Mai went into cardiac arrest and was carried into the university hospital. She was saved, but remained in a coma. Her body suffered frequent seizures.
Mai did not wake up, and days passed without no one knowing why. Hisashi decides to finally call the wedding center. So that Mai wouldn’t be shocked to find out the the wedding was cancelled, Hisashi decides instead to keep the wedding on “hold.” He waited for Mai. Mai, however, remained unconscious for many months. Hisashi visited Mai every day for an hour before work, and three times a day on the weekends. He devoted himself to caring for Mai. He massaged her rigid muscles, spoke to her, and played her her favourite songs at her bed side.
It was 5 month later that they found out what was wrong. The diagnosis was limbic encephalitis caused by an ovarian tumour. The antibodies her body produced to fight the tumor had abnormally acted against her own system, causing damage and inflammation to the brain. The tumour was removed immediately, and everyone hoped that she would now wake up. One month passed, and then another, then it was half a year, and then a year. Mai remained unconscious.
Mai’s mother eventually told Hisashi that he “can go look for another girl.” She didn’t want this young man to sacrifice his life for her daughter. She tried to convince him that “there are healthier girls out there,” but Hisashi didn’t budge. “I’ll wait” he said. He wanted to see her smile one more time, so he begged Mai’s mother to let him stay by her side for a while longer.
A year and a half later, Mai finally opened her eyes. Everyone was happy, but Mai’s face was blank, and she did not respond to stimulation. No one was quite sure if she was really there. Another year passed with her being unresponsive. The only thing she would do was follow things with her eyes. Hisashi didn’t stop visiting her. He believed, that someday, she would notice that he was there.
3 more years had passed, when one day, something miraculous happened. Hisashi was massaging Mai as usual, when he noticed her face wriggling. The wriggles soon turned into a weak smile! Hisashi says he couldn’t stand up from his chair. It had been 6 years since Mai first fell unconscious.
From this day on, Mai made an astonishing recovery. She had not moved for a long time, and all the muscles in her body had weakened. It was two years of difficult rehab, but she pushed forwards. Mai had a goal: to walk down the aisle on her own two feet. In 2014, the couple called the wedding center after 8 years, to rebook a date for their wedding .
The wedding took place on Dec. 21, 2014. Hospital staff and friends, who had supported the couple throughout these years, were among those invited. Supported by her parents on both sides, Mai walked the aisle slowly towards Hisashi. When her mother told her, “good job,” Mai couldn’t stop crying. It was as if 8-years worth of emotion was spilling out. As for the groom, who waited for his unconscious bride, we can only imagine what was going through his mind.
Mai was in a coma for 6 years. The whole time there was one man who believed, waited, and supported her. For all that he had done, she chose him to be her husband. The video made by the Arverir Geihinkan was viewed more than 700,000 times since it was posted last year. Their “pure-love” story has been featured on TV and in the media. They have also written their story, which became a book this summer.
Waited for 8 years by mylovelypinklondon