Man finds strength in friends after losing wife to meningitis - WSMV Channel 4

Man finds strength in friends after losing wife to meningitis

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BRENTWOOD, TN (WSMV) -

For decades, Wayne and Diana Reed made good on their vow to support one another for better or worse and in sickness and health.

But a supposed solution for back pain ended in a way no one could have imagined.

"We love music," Wayne Reed said.

In fact, that's how they met - over a record collection. It may have been a mutual love of music that brought Wayne and Diana Reed together, but it was faith that kept them.

"She made him laugh. He was her strength," said friend Pat Ward. "You can't say one of them without the other. They were a team of one. You say 'Wayne,' you say 'Diana.'"

Wayne Reed battles ALS and has for most of his marriage. However, it would complicate their life together when they let it.

"She would help him - every morning - get ready for work, which was a two-hour process," Ward said.

The Brentwood couple founded the Wayne Reed Christian Childcare Center, a nonprofit which helps at-risk children.

Diana Reed cared for her husband every day, so a week after her death, a man of few words spent each one carefully.

"She was my voice," he said.

This summer, back pain - partly from years of lifting her husband - led Diana Reed to St. Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center.

Epidural injections promised relief, but fungal meningitis tied to a nationwide outbreak with tainted medicine ultimately claimed her life.

"No, I'm not angry," Wayne Reed said.

"We still have questions we want answered," Ward said.

But, friends and family seem more concerned now about solutions for Wayne's long-term care.

"This is not something we were expecting. It's not something that was even on our radar," Ward said.

In spite of the challenge, so many seem certain Diana Reed's death will not be the end of the couple's love story.

"Comforting, with all my friends here. Now, it may be different when everyone is gone, but a lot of friends will not leave," Wayne Reed said.

"We miss her greatly," Ward said. "In this house you still feel her presence."

Caring for Wayne will take some work, logistics and a lot of money. The family set up a fund at SunTrust Bank simply called the Diana Reed Fund if you would care to contribute.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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