Young, in love and running out of time: Indianapolis teenagers receive parents' blessing to marry
INDIANAPOLIS - Chase Smith asked his parents to leave the hospital room. He wanted to be alone with his doctor. He wanted to talk about life, his future, how much was left. It was the end of April and he had just learned that the tumors were back and had spread through his body.
Brad Smith waited outside the room, worried, and the idea whirled around in his head. Should he tell Chase? Should he tell his son what he wanted to tell him?
When the door opened, Brad saw Chase standing there, only 18, but a man who was wise beyond his years. Brad had his answer.
He went to his son and whispered in his ear. "I'll help you get a ring."
"And I kind of looked like, 'How did you know that?'" Said Brad. "And I didn't necessarily know that a wedding would take place in four days at this moment. I only knew from the start that Sadie was his person. He never really told me that, but as a father I could see it in his self knew he wanted to give her that promise. "
A promise to love her forever - no matter how long it was forever.
Chase and Sadie Smith celebrate after their marriage on April 29, 2020.
Jeff Mills' phone rang. His daughter Sadie was crying on the other end. The tumors that had spread across Chase's body had a timeline. The doctors told Chase that he probably had three to five months to live.
"Sadie is out of tears," said Jeff. "She tells me, 'You know he's my soul mate. We wanted to get married.'"
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Yes. He knew. Jeff and Jessica Mills both knew almost immediately that Chase was Sadie's.
"I said to Chase long before anything happened, 'If I had chosen someone from around the world for her, he would have been,' said Jessica.
"Everyone but me knew," said Jeff Mills of his daughter Sadie's plan to marry Chase Smith. "He makes her so happy and so I hugged him and said, 'Of course you have my blessing.'" Mills talks to Ms. Jessica during an interview at her home in Mooresville, Indiana, about events leading to the wedding Tuesday, 9th June 2020
Chase had been in Sadie's heart for a long time, although she didn't know him yet. At 13, the family joked about what kind of man they would marry one day. Sadie is a perfectionist and has high standards.
She started listing her requirements: beautiful, really smart, really mature, treated me like a princess and a super athlete.
"And I said, 'Sadie, you need to lower your standards a little because I'm not sure you will ever find that person,' said Jeff. "Then I met Chase and said 'Holy Cow, she was looking for the right guy.' Chase fits into each of these categories. "
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The two are identical in many ways, Jessica said. Competitive, loving and sometimes fearful. Chase has spoken many times about how Sadie helps calm him down when he's in pain or when his thoughts go to dark places.
"He does the same for Sadie," said Jessica. "I'm not sure what Chase does to her, but he usually just puts his hands on both sides of her face and puts his forehead on hers, and she's ready to roll."
At the state diving competition, Sadie warmed up for her last three dives and hit the board. Her nerves exploded. Would it happen again during the competition?
She went over to Chase. She raised her hands to him and he put his hands on her.
"And 'Bam' she did it. It has a very calming effect on her," said Jessica. "They're better together. It's them. Who could stand in the way?"
"How nice is that?"
The night after the devastating diagnosis in his bedroom, which was next to his closet, Chase revealed the secrets of his heart to his mother Kelli Smith.
"I have to ask you a question," he said to her. "What do you think about me marrying Sadie?"
"I said, 'Oh, how nice is that?'" Said Kelli.
Kelli thought of all the first she'd dreamed that after his first diagnosis of Ewing's sarcoma, Chase would get her at 13 - first date, first prom, driver's license.
"And who doesn't want your child to find his soul mate?" Said Kelli. "We were 110% on board. It is definitely a divine thing that they were brought together when they were. Not a minute before, not a minute later."
After Chase Smith has been irradiated, his vital signs are taken at Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Cancer Center when his mother Kelli connects to Chase's wife Sadie and father Brad on Monday, June 1, 2020. Due to COVID 19 restrictions only one guest can accompany Chase to his appointment.
Kelli went downstairs with all his heart. She said to Brad, "Chase wants to marry Sadie. Now."
Practicability set in. The logistics to ensure that a marriage does not affect Chase insurance and to ensure that a marriage does not take away Sadie's diving grants from IUPUI.
"Sadie is a special, special person and I wanted to make sure she was taken care of," said Kelli. "He may live three to five months, but I wanted to make sure that she was cared for afterwards."
They told Chase to give them 24 hours. The parents went to work to do research, make calls, review policies, and ask questions. The next morning they were satisfied.
"We gave him the thumbs up," said Brad.
Now all he had to do was leave Chase and ask Jeff for his daughter's hand in marriage.
"Of course you have my blessing"
The Smiths invited the Mills to dinner. They had met once at Sadie's state diving championship. But back then it was a casual conversation. That night was about deeper things, life matters - the future of their children.
"We're all just hanging out and Chase is throwing everyone out of the room, including Brad and Kelli," said Jeff. "And I think I know what's coming."
From the day he met Chase, Jeff noticed his maturity. It was like Chase was 30 years old. It was like talking to one of your other friends, Jeff said. Chase's old soul shone through the night when he poured out his heart to Sadie's parents.
"He was very sincere. He told us how much he looked after her," Jeff said this week, tearing her apart. "We all burst into tears because of the situation because we knew his forecast, but only knew that he was making her so happy."
Jeff hugged Chase, looked him in the eye and said to him, "Of course you have my blessing."
The wedding took place in less than a week. The day was full of rain from morning to night. Except for 30 minutes, Chase and Sadie stood where they shared their first kiss on Sadie's driveway to take their vows.
One of the photos of Chase and Sadie under a tree shows the sunset. Jessica says it is "God's light shines down on her".
"They're better together," said Chase and Sadie Smith's parents.
"They would have no idea that four days earlier we received news that our son had three to five months," said Brad. "That day was so perfect."
There were naysayers, if only a few, who wondered why two high school graduates would marry. And people who say they only married because of Chase's terminal illness. And those who ask how parents could give their blessings.
"They got married because they wanted and the love they have," said Brad. "It wasn't cancer. Chase said, 'Now is the time. Every day is a gift. I won't waste another day without my bride.'
I hope they get up together.
There were some mixed feelings for Jeff when he was considering marriage. After all, Sadie is his little girl. He worried about her heart should anything happen to Chase. He was worried about how that might affect their future.
"I gave the blessing and I had a lot of time to think about it," he said. "And I would never take away the blessing because Chase is perfect for her, but I had mixed feelings."
Sadie, who has always been a homebody, now lives with Chase and his parents.
"I think God's plan for Chase was to bring his message to the world, and I think His plan for Sadie was to support Chase, I really do," said Jeff Mills, Sadie Smith's father.
"It was sad for me," said Jeff. "I've torn a lot in the past few months and I'm usually not a shouter, but then you know."
Sadie is so passionate and her dedication and commitment to Chase is intense. When Chase dies, Jeff wonders if Sadie would collapse.
"But the more I thought about it, the more she cares about him so much that I can see Sadie only increasing her life and making her standards so much higher just to honor Chase," Jeff said. "I don't see her collapse. I see her get up."
"My hope," said Jessica, "is that they will rise together."
Follow Dana Benbow on Twitter: @DanaBenbow.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: 2 teenagers received their parents' blessing to marry after diagnosis
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