Quadriplegic man shares first dance with wife, 2 years after their wedding

Oct 15, 2015 at 11:44 p.m. ET

A Florida couple married in 2013, but they were only able to have their "first" wedding dance recently.

Lauren and Joel Jackson, both 26, met in South Carolina as teens and sparks flew, but it wasn't until after a 2009 accident that they knew they were meant to be together. Joel's spine separated during the accident, leaving him paralyzed and unable to speak. That didn't deter Lauren: They used computer software to communicate and eventually said "I do."

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Lauren told Joel after their September 2013 wedding, "‘When you can talk, I want to renew our vows. And when you can walk, I want you to dance with me."

That happened earlier this month at Joel's rehabilitation hospital in Jacksonville. "I couldn't stop saying 'Goodness you are sooooo tall!' I forgot how tall he was after all these years," she wrote on their blog. Joel was able to stand with the help of a bodyweight suspension system. Grab the tissues.


"I don't know if you're like me, but I have photographed (and now videoed) tons of brides and grooms during their first dance," she continued. "I always wondered what they giggled and smiled about, what the conversation was about. Still to this day I find myself wondering what sweet words they are sharing in the that moment, but today, I got to relive that moment again with my groom. We shared our FIRST DANCE again this time on our feet!

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The pair is raising money through sales of Joel's paintings to help them afford a home that's comfortable for him. Until then, they're working together and confident he'll regain more abilities as times goes on.

"When people say you can't, it's because they don't understand God CAN!" she wrote on their blog. "Joel's quality of life might be different than what they would want for themselves, but I'm convinced it's more rich and joyous than they could imagine. It is the little triumphs that are giant steps for us. And for the little things, I am grateful."

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