By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Pair tie the knot at care center

Rockne Roll/News-RegisterLucy Sepeda feeds a piece of wedding cake to Jesse Perez following the ceremony.
Rockne Roll/News-Register
Lucy Sepeda feeds a piece of wedding cake to Jesse Perez following the ceremony.
Rockne Roll/News-RegisterResidents of Deer Meadow Assisted Living witness Lucy Sepeda and Jesse Perez exchange vows.
Rockne Roll/News-Register
Residents of Deer Meadow Assisted Living witness Lucy Sepeda and Jesse Perez exchange vows.
Rockne Roll/News-RegisterLucy Sepeda and Jesse Perez moved to Sheridan to live together after meeting and falling in love at a living facility in Woodburn.
Rockne Roll/News-Register
Lucy Sepeda and Jesse Perez moved to Sheridan to live together after meeting and falling in love at a living facility in Woodburn.

When the pretty lady in the wheelchair told him to go away, he did — but only briefly. He kept coming back, plying Lucy Sepeda with friendly greetings and gifts of apples, bananas and oranges.

“Go away! Leave me alone!” Sepeda kept saying. “I’m not your girlfriend!”

And each time, Perez kept saying, “I really like you.”

His persistence eventually paid off. Perez, 60, and Sepeda, 57, exchanged vows in a commitment ceremony Saturday, Jan. 31, at Deer Meadow Assisted Living, where they live.

Sepeda no longer tells him to go away. Instead, she keeps him as close as possible.

“He’s the love of my life,” she said. “I love him with all my heart.”

They met last year when Perez was staying at an assisted living center in Woodburn and Sepeda in a nursing home next door.

She was sitting outside one sunny day. Her mood was dark, and she was crying.

To cheer her up, her favorite nurse, Dora, brought Perez to sit with her.

Although she didn’t acknowledge it at the time, Sepeda must have felt something for Perez from the first.

While she usually kept to herself, she confided in him. They had a lengthy conversation about their respective lives.

“He told me I was beautiful,” she recalled.

That made Dora and other nursing home staff members start teasing her. “Jesse wants to kiss you!” they said.

Sepeda, whose previous experiences had left her distrustful of men, looked for the worst in her new friend.

She noticed how friendly he was to all the women. He’s a player, she assumed.

“I was really mean to him!” she said, amazed by the memory.

Perez kept being friendly to everyone. But he was especially friendly to Sepeda, showing her that she was special.

“Little by little, I knew he was the man for me,” she said.

“He was different than I had experienced,” she explained. “If we have a little argument, he says, ‘I’m sorry, I understand I did wrong.’”

After a few weeks, Perez asked her to be his girlfriend. Sepeda said yes.

“He’s lovable,” she said. “He has a lot of patience.”

They laugh a lot together, said Sepeda, who admits to being happier than she’s ever been. They do lots of things together — watch TV, check their blood sugar, go shopping, eat Chinese food.

When he goes off to dialysis, she can’t wait for him to return. When she’s involved with her activities, such as making paper flowers, working puzzles or crocheting, he’s right there waiting for her.

“He likes to see me joyful,” she said. “And he respects me. The companionship and respect are the most important things.”

Then Perez asked the even bigger question, “Will you marry me?” And she said yes to that, too.

In order to be together, they moved to Deer Meadows about three months ago. The staff was excited about helping plan a wedding ceremony.

The event turned out beautifully, Sepeda said. She loved the red and white decor, the wedding cake and her white dress with train covered with pearls and sparkles.

Most of all, she said, she loved making a formal commitment to her groom.

“He’s precious to me,” she said. “I’ve never found anyone so special.”

Starla Pointer, who is convinced everyone has an interesting story to tell, has been writing the weekly “Stopping By” column since 1996. She’s always looking for suggestions. Contact her at 503-687-1263 or spointer@newsregister.com.

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