At first Jack Lewis did not have a romantic interest in Joy. She was married, had two children, and lived in America. But when Joy's husband wanted a divorce, so he could marry another woman, Joy returned to Britain permanently. Thereafter, her friendship with Jack deepened.
As a favor to his friend, Jack married Joy in a civil ceremony so she could remain in England. Almost simultaneously, Joy learned the worst possible news: She had terminal cancer. It was 1956, the year the last of the Narnian books was published.
Jack's relationship with Joy continued to thrive. Sick, nearly unto death, Joy married Jack again in a Christian ceremony. The wedding took place in December 1956, at her bedside in Wingfield Hospital.
Although doctors had predicted Joy's illness would soon end her life, she experienced a remarkable remission throughout 1957. She moved into The Kilns and, by the summer of 1958, was well enough to take a ten-day trip to one of Jack's favorite places in the world. The Old Inn at Crawfordsburnin County Down, where Jack had wonderful memories from his youth, now became a place he shared with his wife.
Life at home for Jack and Joy was precious, and they drew closer during long hours spent in their drawing room and sitting room. But their time was short-lived, despite Joy's unexpected remission. By the spring of 1960, her cancer returned. She did not have much time left.