Sunday, June 20

“I married a dead”: under what conditions is a posthumous marriage authorized?


Dressed in a white dress, bouquet in hand, Julienne, 45, walks to the town hall of Reims. A small committee on its thirty-one stands in a moving assembly around the future bride. Julienne has no one by her side. Patrick, who is about to officially become her husband, died thirteen months earlier. The afternoon takes its bow, it is the last wedding of the day. Mario Rossi, deputy mayor, officer with tricolor neck scarf. In two terms, the elected official has pronounced hundreds of marriages, but never any like this one. For this very special ceremony, Mario Rossi will have hard to hold back tears and the assembly too.

That afternoon Julienne said ” Yes “, and his promise of eternal love remains unchecked. After a year of procedures, endless waiting and a presidential decree, Julienne proceeds to what French law calls “Posthumous marriage”. An exceptional provision subject to the authorization of the President of the Republic.

The week before, Mario Rossi think about it every day, a knot in my stomach “. The deputy is afraid of not being up to the task the strength and love that drive Julienne’s approach. So, at the town hall, we get organized. No question of celebrating this union in ten minutes “, remembers Mario Rossi, who obscures the reading of the articles of the Civil Code. The emotion was so strong that the administrative part became secondary. Despite an obvious sadness, Julienne is happy to celebrate such a wedding. It seems crazy to rejoice in this, but it is a moment both solemn and full of love. It’s not just a paper I’m signing, it’s my man I’m marrying. His two daughters, privileged witnesses of this love, put the ring on his finger. Since then, Julienne has responded to the name of Madame Le Brun.

A hundred requests per year

This marriage is obviously nothing of the scenario many times imagined. Julienne and Patrick meet in 2009. She is a journalist. He is a winegrower in Champagne. Very quickly, the couple builds a simple and passionate relationship, a love without shadows witnessed by those around them. In the summer of 2017, during a family dinner, Patrick kneels down, a rose stuck between his lips, a jeroboam of champagne in his hand, and asks Julienne to marry him. It is never essential to get married, but symbolically it has become very important for us. The wedding is scheduled for December 9, 2017. It will never take place (well, at least, not on that date). On September 18, Patrick Le Brun accidentally dies at his workplace. Julienne’s world falls apart, but very quickly, she clings to an idea: Marry her anyway.

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www.lemonde.fr

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