TEEN’S HEARTBREAK: ‘I became a widow at 19’

'I'll never regret marrying my soulmate'
Anna Laero Photography/Supplied

Mollie Landman-Hunker, 19, cherished every moment with her soulmate Brady. Here, Molly tells the story in her own words.

Bopping along to the music with my friends at the school dance, I spotted a familiar face and smiled.

‘Hi Brady,’ I said.

‘Would you like to dance?’ he asked me, holding out his hand.

As I followed him out into the crowd of swaying teenagers, butterflies erupted in my tummy.

Aged 13, I’d never thought of Brady in a romantic way until that night.

From then on, the more time we spent together, the more I liked Brady, and over the next two years, we grew so much closer.

Then one night, we’d been talking for hours when I turned to him and said, ‘People keep asking me if you’re my boyfriend.’

‘I thought I already was,’ he replied.

We'd been friends forever
We’d been friends forever (Credit: Supplied)
At our school dance
At our school dance (Credit: Supplied)

So we began dating officially.

Just a month later, in December 2015, Brady noticed a pain in his leg.

The doctor suspected it was a muscle strain from hockey but over the next few months, the pain just got worse.

Then, one day, my mum, Dawn, phoned me.

‘It’s Brady,’ she said gently. ‘His mum just called. The doctors have found a tumour in his leg.’

Brady had Ewings sarcoma – a rare type of bone cancer.

Rushing to see him, I found Brady was so positive.

‘Everything happens for a reason,’ he said.

I went with him to chemotherapy, but during one hospital admission, the pain in his leg became unbearable.

‘Can you wait outside?’ he sobbed in agony.

After a few minutes in the corridor, I went back to his bedside and took hold of his hand.

‘I didn’t come here to be entertained by you,’ I said. ‘I want to be here no matter what.’

‘Thank you,’ he said. ‘I love you, Mollie.’

I nodded and blinked back tears.

‘I love you too, Brady,’ I said.

After three months of chemo, Brady had surgery to remove the tumour. More chemo followed, before a month of radiation, and by March 2017, scans showed no signs of the cancer.

By now, Brady was 15.

I’d moved to a different school but we spent all our free time together.

Brady’s diagnosis had forced us to grow up and I cherished every moment we spent together.

As the months went by, I loved Brady more than I thought possible.

I was there no matter what
I was there no matter what

But in January 2018, Brady noticed a pain in his neck and back.

I knew that if his cancer returned, it would be so much harder to fight the second time around.

Brady went back and forth to hospital for scans and then one night, I heard my mum crying on the phone.

Walking into my room, she shook her head.

It’s back, I realised.

This time, it had spread all over his body.

Brady remained optimistic as he began chemotherapy again and talk soon turned to our future together.

‘Whatever happens, I want us to get married,’ I said.

‘Me too,’ Brady replied.

Neither of us knew what the future held, but we were sure of one thing – our love for each other.

It didn’t matter if we had one month or 10 years together, I wanted to be Brady’s wife.

We spoke to our parents about it and they supported our wishes.

One day, Brady suggested going for a hike.

As we reached his favourite spot on top of a mountain overlooking the entire town, he dropped down onto one knee.

‘I couldn’t imagine living my life with anyone else,’ he said. ‘Mollie, will you be my wife?’

‘Yes!’ I said.

Our engagement shoot
I wanted to be Brady’s wife, no matter what (Credit: Wild Native Photography)

Setting the date for three months’ time, we set up a fundraiser to help with costs.

As the donations poured in, we were blown away by people’s generosity, and the total hit over $40,000.

Finally, the big day arrived in July 2019, and as I walked down the aisle towards Brady, I couldn’t stop smiling.

He looked so handsome beaming back at me.

Sharing our first kiss as husband and wife, my heart almost burst.

Our honeymoon in Maui
Our honeymoon in Maui (Credit: Supplied)

In the months that followed, Brady’s treatment continued while we moved in together and enjoyed date nights as newlyweds.

We started university, but then a scan showed the cancer had spread to the lining of Brady’s brain.

‘There’s nothing more we can do,’ the doctor told us.

He gave Brady a month to live.

As I looked at Brady, tears rolling down my cheeks, I saw the hope he’d clung onto disappear.

Brady began hospice care and we moved in with his parents.

Devastatingly, by November, Brady was no longer able to walk.

I spent every day by his side with his family, talking about our favourite memories and watching hockey together.

‘I don’t regret anything,’ he told me. ‘I’m happy with my life.’

On November 25, Brady took his last breath.

We’d been married for just four months. He was 18.

In the weeks afterwards, I struggled with the void that Brady’s loss had left but his love kept me going.

At his memorial, more than 700 people came to remember him.

Now, it’s been eight months since Brady died and I miss him every day.

But I’m determined to keep his spirit alive.

Brady had wanted his story to be a beacon of light for others, inspiring them to live with hope and seize every moment.

I never imagined I’d be a widow at 19, however I’ll never regret marrying my soulmate.

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