ATLANTA -- For the first time since a tragic accident off the Gulf of Mexico, a now paralyzed Atlanta man and his fiancé are speaking with 11Alive - and hoping their story will give hope to those fighting similar struggles.
This Atlanta couple had their whole lives planned out. They were excited for their upcoming wedding - until the life they once knew was suddenly stripped away. But they look forward - not back - and it should be an example to all of us.
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There is toughness within their bond. It's what allows this couple to take on their own test. Because the road ahead is long and uncertain for Brett Greenhill.
PHOTOS | Meg Alexander & Brett Greenhill
But by his side is is partner ready for what lies ahead.
"I saw Megan and the first thing I said was, 'I love you and I'm sorry'," Brett said.
In December Brett was pulled from the Gulf of Mexico, unable to move, after diving into a sandbar.
"I felt like, in that instant, our life had changed," he said. "I knew it; I knew the severity of it and I knew how much I love her and if those were my last words that's what I wanted to say."
Brett and his fiancé Meg Alexander were in south Florida with family and friends celebrating their upcoming wedding.
"Megan has been amazing," Brett said. "Oh that's spunk, she's what really keeps me going."
They were set to marry on Feb. 11. The invitations were already out. Instead, they spent that day inside Atlanta's Shepherd Center.
They said Feb. 12 was the toughest day for them. It was when they were supposed to go to New Zealand - a trip they are both determined to take one day.
"Rebuild and move forward," Meg said. "That's all you can do - you can't move backwards. God created time to go that way so that's where we go."
The way forward, Brett describes as "slow and steady."
He said even the best prognosis was incomplete. But he continues to fight forward, thankful for each victory.
"I can feel sensation down in my toes and I'm starting to feel or get movement in my wrists," he said.
He's been in intensive therapy for weeks but says he's seen others around him sit up, stand up and even walk - motivation for his own recovery.
"We hang out with each other; we rejoice in each other's, you know, little victories every day," Brett said. "We push each other and you know it's a special place here."
Even the housekeepers are supportive.
"I look forward to my morning hug from Joe," he said.
He's encouraged, hopeful, but reality is still tough to grasp for a guy who once lived to run.
"If it's runs in a chair or runs in a manual chair or maybe, one day, runs with legs, we're going to find a way to get out and about," Brett said.
Now, their focus is smaller - and their appreciation greater.
"Every little step of life, every little facet, has become that much more special," Brett said.
Their story is inspiring so many. The outpouring of support has helped guide their transition to a normal.
"Everybody remembers him as, 'Oh yea, Brett was the guy that got me into the soccer team in middle school or, you know, Brett was the guy that helped me with a flat one day when I was on the side of the raod'," Meg said. "But that's just who he is."
They once thought they knew what was next. Now they don't. But as Meg said, they are determined to move forward - not back.
"Even though you can have all the plans in the world, sometimes it doesn't work out the way you anticipate," she said.
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