81-year-old couple gets married at Alexandra Hospital, overcomes stroke & Covid-19 restrictions

Tom Iljas noticed that his partner's health was deteriorating, and he wanted to stay by her side to take care of her.

Mandy How| March 28, 06:17 PM

Liong May Swan and Tom Iljas solemnised their marriage on Mar. 28, 2020.

They are not your typical BTO couple.

For one, Liong is 78, while Iljas is 81.

For another, the ceremony was held not at a hotel or restaurant, but at Alexandra Hospital.

Met online 10 years ago

The two met online 10 years ago, when Iljas was based in Sweden and Liong in Singapore.

As widow and widower, Liong has a son, while Iljas has three children and six grandchildren.

Since then, the couple have been in a long-distance relationship, where they would shuttle between the two countries to visit each other, at times going on travels.

Places they have visited together include Turkey, Tokyo, Amsterdam, California, Paris, Rome, and China, just to name a handful.

In Rome. Photo via Alexandra Hospital

In Australia. Photo via Alexandra Hospital

As for how their affinity blossomed into a relationship, Liong describes it as a "slow ember kind of thing".

In 2019, the two decided that they would get married in Mar. 2020.

Sadly, just days before their wedding, Liong was hospitalised for a stroke on Mar. 16, and warded in National University Hospital (NUH).

The two had dreamt of a restaurant wedding, which also had to be cancelled due to the safe distancing measures in light of Covid-19.

Determined to be man and wife, Liong and Iljas requested to hold their solemnisation at Alexandra Hospital, where Liong had been transferred.

Aware of the visitor restrictions as part of the hospital's Covid-19 measures, the couple requested only two witnesses to attend the ceremony — Liong's son, and Iljas' friend.

For the occasion, the hospital prepared a space with yellow flowers (the couple's choice) and wedding decor.

Photo via Alexandra Hospital

Here are some snaps of the couple on their special day.

Photo via Alexandra Hospital

Photo via Alexandra Hospital

Photo via Alexandra Hospital

Photo via Alexandra Hospital

Photo via Alexandra Hospital

Deteriorating health

However, Iljas had sometime ago noticed that Liong's health was deteriorating.

For him to stay by his wife and take care of her, the two originally planned to move to Sweden after the wedding, to spend the rest of their lives together.

While the stroke and Covid-19 outbreak may have thrown a wrench in their plans, the couple remains unfaltering in their promise to spend the rest of their lives together.

On the subject of love, Liong has a few words for the younger generation.

"If you think you have found the right person, you don't have to wait until you reach our age to tie the knot. There's no one good reason to prolong a good decision of a lifetime. Although you can get married at any age, as long as you're ready, but there's a lot to be said if you're young, you have full energy to enjoy each other, and to explore life."

Top image via Alexandra Hospital