Wish Stories

Darlene & Matthew Celebrate Their 40th Anniversary in Style

Birthdays, graduations, weddings, memorials… the list goes on!

Honoring the significant moments of our lives is an experience that connects people—across traditions, cultures, geographies, and all walks of life. The urge to commemorate meaningful times seems practically universal.

Perhaps that is because celebration does so much for the human psyche. Special occasions are opportunities to create lasting memories with those we love. They bring fun and excitement to life. They create structure by giving us goals and things to look forward to. And most of all, they are a way to acknowledge core parts of our shared human experience—like love and happiness.

This was Darlene’s wish: To commemorate her 40th wedding anniversary with a celebration fitting of the great love she and her husband Matthew share.

Inky watching the balloon inflate with two other people
Inky riding in the hot air balloon

Their story is one of love at first sight, and Darlene can even remember when she first saw Matthew. He was just getting out from serving in the Army, and she remembers what he looked like in his uniform. They’re also proof of how opposites attract! Matthew is reserved and quiet, while Darlene is outgoing and full of energy.

But one thing they have in common is the respect and appreciation they have for one another. They’ve supported each other through all of life’s ups and downs, and most recently, through the unique challenges of the pandemic.

In 1984, Darlene worked at one of Denver’s finest hotels when she and Matthew got married. As a wedding present, her boss treated them to a free stay at the hotel. It was an experience that Darlene reflects on fondly to this day, especially when they pass the Ritz-Carlton hotel, which is right around the corner from where they live.

Darlene often thought, “one day we will get ourselves a nice room,” remarking, “I had a dream about it. The dream was so nice, but it wasn’t real.” Over the years, Darlene and Matthew celebrated their anniversary with a date night, often a movie and dinner at Red Lobster. Having a big anniversary celebration always felt out of reach.

Inky posing in front of inflating balloon
Inky watching the balloon inflate
Inky gives a thumbs up

That’s why Wish of a Lifetime was thrilled to help the couple commemorate their anniversary with a celebration fit for the occasion!

Darlene and celebrated their 40 years of love and commitment by staying in a beautiful suite at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. They enjoyed fine dining with a delicious surf and turf dinner. And they even indulged in the spa—a brand new experience for the both of them—complete with chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne.

“Throughout my entire life, my husband and I have never gone to a spa.” She said. “The spa was something that made us both full of joy.”

Darlene and Matthew had a wonderful time during their stay and made memories to last them for many more years together.

“I am still telling my family and friends about this wish,” Darlene said. “I think they can see the glow on my face because of this experience.”

View of the city from the balloon

One incredible story at a time, Wish of a Lifetime is changing the perception of aging—not just how we view our oldest citizens but also how we see and value ourselves as we age.

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All wish activities are conducted in accordance with CDC, state and local health regulations and may be subject to increased COVID-19 preventative precautions as outlined in WOL’s COVID-19 Policy.