The first time Sean Stevenson saw Christine Swidorsky, he looked into her eyes and saw his soulmate.
Saturday, six years later, those eyes were behind a wedding veil as she carried their terminally ill son down the aisle toward Mr. Stevenson and a public commitment to spend their life together.
The couple was married in their Jeannette backyard after deciding to move the wedding up a year so that their little boy, Logan, 2, would be alive for the ceremony.
There were audible sobs from the guests as the young mother, in a wedding gown that had been worn by her sister-in-law, handed Logan to Mr. Stevenson, who in turn passed the toddler to his own mother, Debbie Stevenson, for the ceremony.
Logan's older sister, Isabella Johns, 13, had walked down the aisle holding the hand of the couple's youngest child, Savannah, who is almost 2, and another of Ms. Swidorsky's bridesmaids, her sister, Carey Swidorsky, had carried Logan's teddy bear that she, too handed to Mrs. Stevenson for Logan to cuddle.
Logan, alert as he came into the outdoor chapel, fell asleep with his head on his grandmother's shoulder as she rocked him while his parents repeated their wedding vows.
It was just a week earlier that Mr. Stevenson, 27, and Ms. Swidorsky, 36, decided to go ahead with the wedding.
Logan was born with a rare genetic disorder called Fanconi anemia. He had already suffered with leukemia and then developed a mass on his kidney. He is on medication to keep him comfortable but that makes him sleepy, his grandmother said, and so he dozed on and off through the ceremony and the pictures afterward.
Donna Stevenson, Sean Stevenson's aunt, said doctors told the couple on July 26 that there was nothing else they could do for the boy and that he had two or three weeks to live. The next day, when she got back from a family reunion, she got the call that the wedding would be held in seven days.
Ms. Swidorsky said she spent most of the last week in the house with her son while family members readied the yard for the wedding. Ms. Swidorsky has experience with loss. Her mother died six years ago and her father died just two months ago.
Donna Stevenson, her mother and her daughters took on the task of decorating the back yard from the wedding. She already had the decorations, such as the arch and candelabras, for the wedding altar from her own wedding and those of her daughters.
The bride's other sister, Opal Swidorsky, also cried through the ceremony. She called it "bittersweet," but was thankful that the rain she had driven through on her way to her sister's house was just a memory as the ceremony was held under blue sky.
Other members of the family were in charge of other aspects of the wedding that Donna Stephenson called a "happy/sad" occasion.
Earlier this year, the young couple tried to have a real family vacation. But a Make-A-Wish Foundation trip to Disney World in Florida was cut short in June when Logan became ill and had to be flown on a medical jet back to Pittsburgh.
Since the news of their story became public, it has attracted attention internationally. Yesterday three television camera crews recorded the nuptials and the couple has been interviewed on NBC's "Today Show."
"We're blessed everyday that he's with us," Mr. Stevenson said about the life of his son.
When Christine Swidorsky walked into his view Saturday, Mr. Stevenson said he saw "the most beautiful sight. She's a beautiful woman and a great mother."
Ms. Swidorsky repeated her vows through her tears.
"This is our dream come true" she said later.
She was crying, she said, because she was thinking about the love she has for her children and her husband.
"My family is my heart and soul."
Ann Belser: email@example.com or 412-263-1699. First Published August 3, 2013 11:30 PM