AUGUSTA — After almost 27 years of being together, Esther Harris and Alan Gosselin of Gardiner, were married Thursday in the Spiritual Center of MaineGeneral Medical Center.

Harris, 65, carried a bouquet of red roses, and Gosselin, 64, sported a white carnation on his striped polo shirt. He abandoned his walker and stood unsupported for much of the brief ceremony conducted by the Rev. David Gant, director of the Spiritual Center and a chaplain at the hospital.

The proposal was a long time coming, but when it happened, things moved rapidly.

Gosselin, a sandblaster at Bath Iron Works, was hospitalized with pneumonia and spent months in the critical care unit and in a coma.

“A lot of things happened,” said Harris, who has been a housekeeper at MaineGeneral Medical Center for the past 15 years. “I could not get into his bank account, and I could not get into his checking account. I said, ‘We’ve got to get married. I can’t take this any more.'”

Gosselin proposed as soon as his breathing tube was removed.

“She had so much trouble doing stuff for me,” he said, “and I figured it was about time.”

Gant, who had come to know the couple well during Gosselin’s stay in the hospital, wanted to do the wedding.

It was the second wedding at the hospital’s Alfond Center for Health, which opened Nov. 9, 2013.

“This has been a great hospital,” Gosselin said. “I don’t have any complaints. This was my first time in the hospital. They saved my life.”

He kidded around with friends and relatives who watched and photographed the ceremony with a light snowfall visible through the glass in the background.

Gosselin’s nephew, Adam Benedict of Hallowell, served as a witness, as did Harris’ niece, Jennifer Bishop, of Windham. Five-year-old McKenna Bishop was the flower girl in a bright pink dress with a wrist corsage of pink roses. Both families have looked forward to the marriage, they said.

Gant’s cellphone provided a clip of wedding music for the entrance of the bride and her entourage.

Gant reminded the onlookers that Gosselin “was very, very, very sick.” Gant said he told Harris that Gosselin would have to be strong enough to say “I do.”

During the ceremony, Gant said, “It was clear to me, knowing them as I do, that they are well-suited to one another.”

The couple wasted little time once Gosselin proposed. On the way home after Gosselin was released from the hospital, the couple stopped at Gardiner City Hall for a marriage license.

As Gosselin continues his recovery, honeymoon plans are on hold, but Harris said they intend to visit a friend in Tennessee.

 

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

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Twitter: @betadams