See the beautiful wedding video of the man who was buried on the day he was supposed to get married.

How do you start a story about a man who was buried on his wedding day?

For now, I'll start with the facts. Solomon Chau died in his sleep on Aug. 17, 2015 — eight months after being diagnosed with liver cancer.

That was four days ago as of this writing.


This time last year, Chau and his beloved fiancee, Jennifer Carter, were looking forward to their wedding day, which was scheduled for Aug. 22, 2015.

That's tomorrow, as of this writing. It's hard to know the proper verb tense when you're talking about death. I mean that literally, though it is a strangely apt metaphor befitting of the subject matter.

The point is this: Aug. 22, 2015, is the day of Sol's funeral. In another world, it would have been the start of his married life with Jenn.

Jennifer Carter's wedding dress. Photo by Red Earth Photography. Used with permission.

I could start this story at the beginning, when Sol and Jenn first met.

According to Sol's obituary, it was pure happenstance that Jenn was visiting a friend at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, in October 2007 and that she would wind up at a house party celebrating Sol's 19th birthday.

It was less happenstantial that Jenn would catch Sol's eye amidst the flurry of the evening. And it was absolutely deliberate when he took a more-than-three-hour bus ride around Lake Ontario during a snowstorm in December just to show up at her door and ask her out.

This is the love-conquers-all version, where the happy not-quite-a-couple-yet overcomes adversity — in this case, an actual storm — just to end up in each others' arms.

Jennifer and Solomon together. Photo taken from the GoFundMe campaign run by Solomon's childhood friend.

I could start their story somewhere in the middle, with the epic flash mob Sol used to ask Jenn to be his wife.

It was the spring of 2014, as the obituary tells it. Sol organized a flash mob in the plaza beneath Toronto's CN Tower, complete with dolphin balloons to match Jenn's tattoo in honor of her late sister.

There'd be an intermission, of course; a chance for the audience to catch their breath and revel in the couple's joyous day before the tragic ending in Act III.

Or I could begin closer to the end, with the day that Sol was diagnosed with cancer.

As explained in the couple's GoFundMe campaign, the news came in December 2014, and in those 48 frantic hours, Sol was diagnosed and rushed right into surgery. The doctors were able to successfully remove the tumor that was poisoning his liver. It was scary, sure, and Sol was weak. But then the New Year came, and things were looking up.

The tumor was gone. The cancer wasn't.

The couple's wedding rings. Photo by Red Earth Photography. Used with permission.

The truth is, no matter where I start the story, it still ends the same way: Sol died Aug. 17, 2015.

I wish I could tell you about the power of love, or Sol's miraculous recovery on their wedding day. But I told you up top that that wasn't how this story went. Real life is ugly, and cancer doesn't care for poetry or happy endings.

But what kind of storyteller would I be if I didn't save the best part of their story for last?

You see, Solomon Chau and Jennifer Carter did get to enjoy 128 precious days as husband and wife.

Jenn and Sol's first look on their wedding day. Photo by Red Earth Photography. Used with permission.

It was March 2015 when Sol's cancer returned — just three months after his initial diagnosis and the emergency surgery they thought had been successful. This time, he and Jenn were told that the ending was inevitable, just as I told you.

Less than two weeks after Sol's fateful diagnosis, the city of Toronto rallied together behind the couple and surprised them with an unforgettable wedding on April 11, 2015.

Jenn and Sol with their bridal party. Photo by Red Earth Photography. Used with permission.

In just three days, more than $50,000 was raised on GoFundMe to throw the couple a lavish wedding, and otherwise-expensive wedding vendors like Boundless Wedding video (who shared this story with me) and Red Earth Photography and Liberty Entertainment Group volunteered their services free of charge to give Sol and Jenn the happy day they deserved. The events of the day took place across Toronto, everywhere from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel to Toronto's picturesque Casa Loma castle and featured a brief reprise of Sol's flash-mob proposal.

All 70 guests kept their spirits high despite the tragic elephant in the room. Because sometimes, that's the only thing you can do.

And even though Sol was buried on the day his wedding was supposed to take place, Jenn will always have memories of their happy wedding day.

And I'll leave you with this, something to think about:

Some people joke about their " Kardash-iversary" — 73 days after the wedding, at which point their marriage has officially lasted longer than that of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. I was recently married, and instead, I'll be thinking about our Sol-iversary. That will be in October (coincidentally, on Sol's birthday), 128 days after our own wedding — the amount of time that Sol and Jenn had together, and how grateful we all should be for every single day.

I didn't know of Solomon Chau until Thursday afternoon (which is today, or two days ago, depending how we're counting). I don't presume to know what legacy he would have liked to leave behind, and it would be a disservice if I wrote some cliche platitudes about life and love and death. What I can do is what I've done here, which is share his story, and hope that maybe Sol's story could bring some light into your life, too.

Sol is survived of course by his wife, Jennifer Carter, and his family has asked for any donations to be made to the Tim Horton's Children's Foundation or Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

Keep Reading Show less