My husband and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary on Sunday.
I haven’t shared this story with many, not because it is really that big of deal, but because it is a special memory and is such proof to my dad’s attitude about his cancer.
My husband and I originally planned to get married March 16th, 2013. Something kept nagging at me in the back of my head as we started planned it early last summer. Something wasn’t right. We had this huge wedding, over 200 on the guest list, at the venue I had dreamed of having my wedding at for years. But I wasn’t excited. I didn’t care about the centerpieces and food. It was all too overwhelming. Then one day I told Tony I just wanted to get married just us, the kids and my parents. In their backyard. Very small and casual. He agreed. It was like a huge rock lifted off of me. My parents were excited to do it, and my dad had a new project to keep him busy. Upgrading his backyard. In hindsight that was a blessing for him. It kept him busy and he would call me and tell what they had done. Pruned trees, weeded beds, added a new sidewalk.
A few weeks before the wedding my dad called all excited because their neighbor was on the board of the local art museum. He had offered to get us the sculpture garden for our wedding for free. (Usually a hefty $2100 fee). My dad went down and took pictures and called to tell me how beautiful and perfect it was. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of this neighbor. He knew how important this wedding was and went above and beyond what I could have imagined. It was perfect.
The day of the wedding, right before my dad was going to walk me down the aisle, I was standing off to the side of the walk way where no one could see me but him. I was crying, well sobbing, because I knew how special that moment was and I didn’t want it to end. I couldn’t imagine my life without the man standing in front of me. The man that had dried so many of my tears, given me so many comforting hugs, who had been my biggest supporter in life. So there I am, standing in this beautiful dress, with my hair and makeup done, listening to the music as my 5 year old and my best friend got ready to drop flower petals down the tiled walkway, crying like a baby.
My dad walked over to me and reached his hand out to me and asked “Why are you crying Heather? It is such a beautiful day. You look so beautiful. Everyone you love is here. You should be happy.” So then I am thinking “Oh my gosh, this wonderful man who is dying right now from this horrible cancer is not thinking about himself or what he is going to be missing in the future, he is thinking about the here and now. He’s thinking about me. Snap out of Heather. Enjoy him. Enjoy the day.” Which still didn’t stop me from sobbing all the way down the aisle, and after my dad gave me a huge hug and gave my hand to my husband I let out the hugest SNORT (because that is what happens when I cry like that) and broke all the tension in the air and everyone laughed. All I could say was “Great, I snorted at my wedding.” (It’s all on video too. Wonderful.) My husband says the snort was the best part of the wedding because everyone there was so emotional under the circumstances and it lightened the mood considerably. Still not so cool.
The ceremony was beautiful. Afterwards our family came up to congratulate us. I don’t know what my dad was saying to me in the picture below but I am pretty sure it was something along the lines of how proud he was of me and how much he loved me.
My dad was coming off his last day of his 6th round (I think) of Temodar and was very tired and a little confused that day. We attributed the confusion to the last day of the chemo. He was forgetting people he had known for years asking them who they were and how they knew me. But he was happy and knew what was going on. Now that I look at the pictures I can see a little vacancy in his eyes that usually wasn’t there, but at the time I didn’t notice.
They did his MRI a week later and that is when they found the new tumor.
Dad didn’t make it to our original wedding date of March 16, 2013. As you know he died February 4, 2013. I am so glad I went with my gut and changed the date. The way things fell into place I know it was how it was suppose to be.