ST. LOUIS — Kaitlyn Dinino and Steve Sekulski were planning the wedding of their dreams.
"My dress was done. We had the reception. We already sent out our wedding invitations. We were actually getting everyone sending them back saying that they were coming," Dinino explained.
But then came the coronavirus, and they had to tell the bridesmaids, the groomsmen and even the flower girl that their April ceremony was being postponed. Even the honeymoon to Hawaii was canceled.
"It was really hard," Dinino said.
Some couples have had virtual weddings during the pandemic, but that wasn't really an option in this case. You see, Dinino and Sekulski are a little busy right now, on the front lines of the pandemic.
They both work at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. She's a nurse, he's a physical therapist and they both treat COVID-19 patients.
"At first, pretty terrifying," Sekulski said. "I remember stepping into the first patient's room that I treated with all the gear on and the anxiety levels are through the roof."
"I try to tell myself that it will be OK and that I'm there for the patients and I try not to think about the scary aspects of the virus," Dinino said.
They both went into health care because they felt called to help people, but coronavirus is a new kind of challenge. Especially since patients can't have any visitors.
"As a therapist, since I get to spend a lot of time with my people, I try to be that source of positivity," Sekulski said.
As for the wedding, instead of a big ceremony, they'll have a mini-mony next month and a story to tell their children and grandchildren.
"We're missing out on this wedding but you know we're going to get married, it's going to happen and Kaitlyn and I get to be part of this whole situation," the groom-to-be said. "We both look at it as our duty."
Postponing a wedding to save lives. It's no wonder our health care workers on the front lines are called heroes.
"At the end of the day," Dinino said, "I like knowing that I made a difference in my patients' lives."