EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

September 27, 2012

Celebration of life

Hospice house hosts wedding for resident's son

HAVERHILL — Robert Lang smiled and flashed a victory sign last night as he celebrated his son’s wedding — 24 days early — at the Merrimack Valley Hospice House.

Lang, 62, of Boxford, had planned to join a wedding party of 160 family and friends in York, Maine, next month to watch his son Daniel marry Ashley Torr.

But with Lang battling terminal cancer and under hospice care for the last 10 days, the family decided it was best to move the wedding up so he could be there and enjoy it.

“Our wedding was planned for Oct 20,” Dan, 28, said in an interview last night.

“The doctors didn’t have a terrific prognosis that he’d make it that long. But we both wanted him to be there,” he said.

So, the Merrimack Valley Hospice House was more than willing to help by offering to host its first wedding since opening the home three years ago. They offered a picturesque place in front of the fireside in the foyer. “We decided Monday night that this was what we were going to do. We did everything online,” Lang’s wife Chris said, of the short-notice invitations that went out to immediate family. The couple has been married 31 years.

There’s still hope, of course, that Bob will make the Oct. 20 wedding ceremony.

But Dan didn’t want to take any chances that his father would miss the important date.

“It was needed,” said the Justice of the Peace Albert Jolie, from Cape Neddick, Maine.

“We did this for Bob because we don’t know how much longer he’ll be with us. So, this is like a practice run for the big one (Oct. 20). Bob is the toughest guy I’ve ever met. He’s been battling cancer for so long,” said Jolie, who is also a brother-in-law and Dan’s uncle.

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