A story of love and loss, a Myrtle Beach teenager diagnosed with lymphoma got his last wish, to wed the love of his life, in a commitment ceremony at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
At close look, Justice Dunlap’s necklace reads, “I used to be his angel, now he’s mine.”
Eric’s ashes were placed in four necklaces, one for Justice, and the others for his mom, dad, and grandmother.
“When we found out he wasn’t going to have much time left, I remember I walked out of the bathroom and he was sitting in the chair, and I bent down and I was like, do you want to go ahead and do this before it’s too late, so we can still have this one last thing that we’ve always wanted to do,” Dunlap asked Mason.
Her wedding with Eric, planned in just one day, had it all – a cake, a chaplain, and an aisle right down the hospital’s hallway.
Dunlap says she didn’t think she’d get married in a hospital, but says it was perfect because she got to be with Eric.
In the middle of our interview with her, our audio batteries drained instantly. To Dunlap, it was a sign that his spirit was with us.
“Our favorite thing to do together was watch scary movies and scary videos, like Ghost Adventures and all types of stuff like that,” she said. “So, we believed in it, 100%. So, I told him, like, whoever dies first, we have to make a promise to come back at least once a month to scare the crap out of one another.”
One year into their relationship, Eric was diagnosed with an aggressive lymphoma, and needed a stem cell transplant.
“That day was pretty scary,” Dunlap said. “I was still in high school, so I drove immediately from the parking lot to the hospital and ended up actually like chasing the ambulance to the next hospital because they were transporting him, but it was devastating. I mean, the whole time, I just kept thinking, like, I can’t lose him. I can’t lose him.”
She remembers his last words, three days after their ceremony on March 18, 2019, “I love you babe.” Dunlap says her story is proof it’s important to not take people for granted.
“Every moment is special, even the bad moments, and that’s something I didn’t realize until it was too late,” she said. “So, I really want to get that point across to everyone, and I really want his memory to be honored, not just my story and you know, my ceremony, I want to get him out there.”
Justice walked down the aisle to their song, “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” by John Mayer.