Andrew and Kristy Mackenzie, who live in Virginia, had just finished celebrating Father’s Day with their children and grandchildren in June when their motorcycle was struck by a car that had run a stop sign while on their way home.
According to Kristy, 54, who spoke to People about the traumatic experience, she and her husband were both transferred to the emergency room for treatment of their extensive injuries. Andrew suffered a concussion and broke two T-vertebrae in his back, as well as his left pelvis bone, his left scapula, five ribs and his nose, while Kristy also suffered a concussion and broke her back, several ribs, and her left scapula.
Andrew’s injuries required him to be airlifted to UVA University Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he had to undergo emergency surgery.
However, it wasn’t until her husband of 37 years woke up that Kristy realised the extent of his injuries, as Andrew thought it was 1993 and, as a result, didn’t remember a significant portion of their life together.
“He knew me, but I could see him looking through me,” she recalled. “I tell you, that’s the scariest day of my life. Seeing him look through me like that, I didn’t know how I was going to get him back.”
In an effort to be closer to her husband, Kristy told the outlet that she was adamant they be allowed to room together in the hospital, a request that she said was initially denied.
“They said we couldn’t room together and I begged them and begged them,” she said. “Just sitting and holding his hand was better for both of us.”
Andrew agreed, as he told People that he “never would’ve made it” without his wife by his side, and a purpose to live for.
“I’ve always said: ‘You’ve got to have a purpose and hope in life.’ And for me, the love of my life is Kristy, but also, I go to work to provide and make things better for our kids and grandkids. I’ve got hope and purpose,” he explained.
While hospital staff initially denied the couple’s request to remain together, they were eventually placed in the same room after Andrew was moved out of the ICU.
However, it wasn’t enough for Kristy, who said she complained that their beds were still too far apart, as she couldn’t see her husband while lying in bed. According to Kristy, the nurses ended up tying up the curtains separating her from her husband and moving their beds together.
“I just wanted to be beside him,” she told People.
The proximity to one another may have helped Andrew heal, as Kristy said that it was together in their hospital room that her husband’s memory began to return.
“Everything seemed to click,” she said. “I kept telling them, he would be better as long as we were together. I said: ‘If you let us be together, he will get better.’ And that’s when it started coming around.”
It was also during this time that Kristy realised she wanted to remarry her husband of 37 years once they had both recovered from the accident, which would ultimately take 11 days in the hospital, and another 11 days in rehab.
“When this mess is over, I’m marrying this man again,” Kristy texted one of her best friends.
As it turns out, Andrew had a similar thought, as he decided to propose to his wife again during their annual family vacation to North Carolina’s Outer Banks in August, which also marked the first time that he and Kristy could walk without wheelchairs or walkers.
After proposing to his wife during a stroll along the beach, the couple renewed their vows in front of their children and grandchildren two days later, on 29 August.
According to Kristy, who described the beach ceremony as “amazing,” she hopes her and Andrew’s story reminds others to “love like you mean it”.
“I hope it shows others to love like you mean it, and never give up on love or each other,” she said.