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Couple separated by COVID, illness renews vows after nearly 50 years of marriage

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BATON ROUGE - The second walk down the aisle for Althea Clark may be more important than the first. This time it's a vow renewalher husband Lionel's ideaafter 48 years of marriage.

A feat not many couples can claim.

"Today was just amazing, overwhelming," said their eldest daughter, Alisha Thompson. "Of course we weren't able to participate when they first got married, but it just gave us a chance to celebrate with them and to show our appreciation to our parents for being examples to us of what it takes to be a married couple."

It's a new memory the Clarks want to stay with Althea for a long time, which is now more critical than ever.

"With my mom's dementia, it made it that more important for her to remember us all, remember this moment that she was able to share with her family," Thompson said.

Last year, at the height of COVID, Althea had to to move into St. Clare Manor to receive full-time care for her dementia. Restrictions at the nursing home made it difficult for her and her husband to spend time together.

With things finally returning to normal, Lionel wanted to reaffirm their bond, even though they still will live apart.

"She will be mine forever and ever," Lionel said. "Every day and every night, I'm thinking about her. I can't live without her."

Their family says it's because of their faith that they've been able to stay married for so long.

"It was all because of God. It was all God and their faith and their belief that God will hold them together," Thompson said.

And that faith is also bringing hope for the future.

"She's getting better. I see God's hand on her life. She's doing really well because she's not even supposed to be walking, but she was able to walk down the aisle."


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