AURORA, Colo. — Michael and Sheila Peoples have been married for 24 years. They saw each other while Michael was singing on New Year's Eve in 1996 – and it was love at first sight.
Since then, Sheila and Michael stood by each other through each battle life threw at them. And they weren't easy ones.
Michael has a genetic kidney condition that caused both to fail 21 years ago. He's been on dialysis ever since, visiting Fresenius Kidney Care three times a week for treatment. That also means he's at a higher risk for severe complications when it comes to COVID-19.
He got sick last March and spent two and a half months on a ventilator in the ICU. No one thought he would make it.
"It was very terrifying," Sheila said. "I was very concerned about it because you know I know his underlying health condition was not so good. So I was really worried about it and just praying and hoping that he would come out."
Michael did make it, and they talked through video calls through his quarantined recovery.
"Every chance that I thought of him, I just picked up the phone to do [a video call] and called him just so we can see and talk to one another."
But again, it wasn't easy. Michael had to re-learn how to walk, talk and of course, sing. Michael wrote Sheila a song to thank her for standing by him through everything from dialysis to COVID – called "Unconditional Love."
"God knows where I would be. I have no idea where I would be, but I would definitely not be in the position that I'm in now," Michael said. "That's also one of my lyrics, where would I be without you in my life. That's what I'm saying to her."
Michael sang pieces of the song to Sheila as he wrote them. He jokes that she now knows the song better than he does.
"We just truly love each other and want to continue to love each other for the rest of our lives."
And their love story will continue a little longer. Now that he's recovered, Michael is next up on Colorado's kidney transplant list. That's another battle he'll face with Sheila by his side.
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