When Something is Missing

When my sister got married, our daddy walked her down the aisle. The excitement in his eyes is one moment I will never forget (Please see photo of my super excited dad, pre-wedding ceremony). I could only imagine the feeling of being surrounded by loved ones and experiencing that moment.

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My daddy (yes, I’m in college and still refer to my dad as daddy and mom as momma, no shame) battled lung cancer for a little over eight months the year after my sister got married. The day he was diagnosed it was a shock to my entire family; he hadn’t smoked in exactly 13 years.  Two days before the start of my Junior year here at Radford University, the unthinkable occurred. On the morning of August 25th, 2012 I ran into a rehabilitation home where I screamed for my daddy when I saw him lifeless in his bed.

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Why am I telling you this? Well, what is the one thing that every little girl pictures herself doing on the day of her wedding? For me, it’s walking arm in arm with my daddy and having him hand me over to my soon-to-be husband. The day that I realized I wouldn’t be escorted down the aisle by the man who had been by my side since I was born, scared me. He coached me through my years of softball, scared my, now, fiance before prom by pointing out that I’m his baby girl and he better keep me safe, and sat me on his lap to tell me everything would be okay when I was in tears from the fear of loosing him, and now he’s gone. How would I be able to glide to altar without him physically there? That is one question I honestly can’t answer right now. It’s something that I will have to find out when the time comes.

Just because he isn’t physically going to be in the church while Ian and I say our “I do’s” doesn’t mean he won’t be there. There are ways to commemorate a loved one on your wedding day, some touches more subtle than others:

I have vowed to wear no other necklace on my wedding day other than my everyday necklace. After my daddy passed away, we got a finger print and had jewelry made with the indention of his finger print. It’s a way to remind us that he is always with us.

My daddy was a Master Chief on submarines in the Navy. We still have his white petty officer hat and I’ve found the perfect way to incorporate it into my wedding. While momma walks me down the aisle, I’ll be carrying his hat along with my bouquet (in a not awkward way of course).

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There is nothing more in this world that I want than to have my daddy by my side on my wedding day. I would do anything to get him back, even just for that day. The best that I can do is surround myself with the love of my family and new family. When you know that something is missing, you can either let it destroy you or let it strengthen you.  I choose to be strengthened.

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