Love in the time of coronavirus: grandfather watches granddaughter’s wedding from thousands of miles away

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Desiree Schneider and her grandfather Del Long have gotten to experience many milestones together, despite living miles apart.

“High school graduation, college graduation, and then you’ve come out a couple other times,” said Desiree.

They always take photos together – usually he’s kissing her on the cheek. But the COVID-19 pandemic changed things for Desiree and Del.

“We’ve been planning our wedding for a year now and we had a venue and everything set up,” said Desiree, a few weeks before the wedding. “But March came around and everything hit the fan.”

The coronavirus wasn’t the only health concern affecting the planning of Desiree’s July wedding.

Del was recently diagnosed with cancer. He doesn’t fly, and it would’ve been about 17 hours to drive from Kennewick, where he lives, to the wedding venue in Colorado.

“They offered to drive me out there and back but it’s the riding, it’s the distance, going that far would get to me,” said Del. “I really wish I could be there.”

Del also doesn’t have internet or a cell phone.

“I’m a dinosaur,” he said.

So while switching to an outdoor venue and going forward with the wedding planning, Desiree was trying to think of ways for Del to be able to watch the ceremony from afar.

“I was gonna call someone from Craigslist and have them come out with their phone for you,” Desiree told Del, laughing.

She was able to drive out to visit Del a few weeks before the wedding and even show off her wedding dress – a chance for another photo.

A couple weeks later, she walked down the aisle – in Colorado.

And though Del isn’t the biggest fan of technology, a cell phone hot spot and laptop helped him to watch the ceremony live from the comfort and safety of his living room.

He even got to say hello to the bride. And of course – they got one more photo together – screens apart.

“We’re going to take a picture, are you smiling?” said Desiree over Zoom. “Alright, I love you papa!”