A simple dip in the cool water on a beautiful day could have broken her relationship. In the summer of 2018, Bryan Kidwell, chef from Los Angeles, California, was the happiest of men. Not only is he engaged to a wonderful woman named Sofia Lares, he’s also a successful chef about to open his own restaurant. This handsome athletic kid spends all his free time hiking, cycling or swimming. His friends used to describe him as “the blessed type of gods whose plans go off without a hitch.”
On a hot day in August, Bryan went to relax by the beach with his dear Sofia. He decides to go freshen up. Under the gaze of his lover, the young Californian dashes onto the sand and dives headfirst into the waves of the Pacific Ocean. But the diver misjudged the distance. Bryan smashes his head on rocks hidden under a sandbank near the edge of the beach …
“When I saw he wasn’t moving, I screamed in despair”
The shock is violent: it breaks the cervical vertebrae C5 and C6. “When I saw he wasn’t moving, floating on the water,” Sofia remembers, “I ran to get him out of there.” The panic is total. Sofia holds Bryan’s head above the waves: “I was screaming in despair. Help arrived and we left all screaming sirens for the hospital. Bryan couldn’t feel or move his arms, legs or chest.”
The young man will spend a week in intensive care in critical condition. Once his vital functions have stabilized, he must begin rehabilitation. At this point, he is still completely paralyzed. The path promises to be long and uncertain to recover his mobility. Sofia does not let go of her man. At his bedside, every day, she infuses him with her love and encouragement. She does everything she can to keep Bryan in good spirits, including setting her a hell of a goal: “I want you to marry me, but stand up,” she confides. As soon as you walk back, we’ll get married. So, at work !”
Toe movement or first steps, Sofia filmed it all
Confident in Bryan’s ability to rise to the challenge, she films his every progress, even the smallest: the day he wiggles his toes, sits down, then stands up unaided, his first steps on a walker. Eight months later Bryan has rebuilt himself, he walks, runs and swims again. No more time to waste, life is too short, the two thirty-something married on May 15.
During the ceremony, Sofia speaks: “We have a second chance in life. A year ago today, I almost lost you. Here is my gift for you.” Then she launches the video compiling the highlights of her recovery, in front of the upset audience. We get married, they say, for better or for worse. The worst, Sofia and Bryan have already overcome. All that’s left for them to do is savor the best together.
A year after Bryan’s accident, the two lovebirds get married. ©