First, I want to THANK YOU so much for your love and support and the way that so many of you have followed my journey with my Daddy on social media. If you have been loyally keeping up with my posts, you likely already know a lot of what I will be talking about in this blog post. Feel free to read on!
We decided on Hospice Compassus. I work in long-term care, so I was familiar with some of the nurse aids that frequented the facility. The main reason for the choice, though, was because Dad wasn’t sure if he wanted to come to my house after discharge or return to his own in Kansas, 45 minutes away. Hospice Compassus provided services in Kansas and Missouri, so it would be an easier route to take than trying to switch providers if Dad decided on going home, then ended up at my house later. I’m happy to tell you that Dad didn’t end up going back to his own home. At the persuasion of the doctors, Compassus, and myself, he settled on having a room to himself at my house, as it was closer to my work and there were additional restaurants and establishments than in the small town he was from.
From speaking with the doctors, I knew that the time I had left with my Daddy was limited. His functions were poor. Toxins would continue to fill his body until he was ready to go. My heart was breaking, but the heartbreak motivated me to make a pretty serious and spontaneous decision – I was going to get married while my Daddy was still with me, even if that meant doing so right in his hospital room.
I called John as soon as Dad decided against dialysis. I told him that the end was near – that I would lose my dad this year. I asked him, as we’ve been engaged for quite some time, if he would be comfortable getting married sooner, rather than later. John isn’t much for impulsivity. I sort of bring the “spice” to the relationship, in that matter. He whole-heartedly agreed, though, as he cried with me on the phone. My Daddy loved John, and the feeling was reciprocated.
Next, I called my mama. I asked her not to make plans for the upcoming weekend, which also happened to be her birthday. She knows the ups & downs that JT & I have faced – some nearly breaking us apart. She was all in favor of a hospital wedding, and she wanted to do whatever she could to make it happen as seamlessly as possible. Have I told you how I love my mama? To so selflessly give up her special day so I could make it my own….I love my mama.
I reached out to a couple of friends – one who was ordained, the other gifted in photography. They both generously agreed to help me – short notice – with my shotgun wedding. We went on Friday, March 29th, to get our marriage license. It was surreal, honestly, having something to be so excited/elated about during this heartbreaking time. After filing for the license, we stopped at a local boutique to see if they had any last minute options for a pretty white dress. I LOVED so many of them, but John thought they were a little too renaissance, lol. After a second lap through the store, I found the prettiest ivory lace dress with a short slip underneath. I’m not much for short-slip dresses, but I did see a nude-colored tulle skirt that I thought would look pretty underneath. I tried it on – the sleeveless, lacy-boho dress was so me. I had to have a second opinion though, so I asked the girls behind the counter what they thought about the dress for the occasion. They graciously shared in my excitement for the wedding and in my sadness for my Daddy, and they approved excitedly of the dress. THANK GOODNESS.
After getting back into my own clothes, I went to the counter to pay for the dress and the pretty tulle skirt. I was met with unimaginable generosity, though, when the owner of Spellbound Boutique told me that they would like to give me the items as a wedding gift, along with a sachet of crystals to help me with the passing of my dad. I was in shock, and soon after, in tears. I could not believe – still can’t – that they were so kind as to gift me my own wedding dress and crystals. Spellbound Boutique – my witchy wonderland – will forever hold a special place in my heart.
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Saturday, March 30th – the day had come for me to get it together and marry my handsome man in front of our parents, step-parents, my grandparents, and my Daddy. I stayed with Dad until around 11AM that morning, as the wedding was at 2PM, and I desperately needed to shower and go over plans with John & Cyan. After a quick shower, picking out Cyan’s outfit, and packing a bag, I headed back to the hospital to spend more time with Dad and get ready in his bathroom. Mom came in with her husband and started setting up sparkling juices, fruits, and a cake for the special day. She should have been celebrating herself with cake, but the sacrifices mothers make for their children… Flowers were brought in by The Palliative Care Team & Hospice, as well as six beautiful cupcakes (one of which is in our freezer!) The hospital staff brought in a small table and kept stopping by to see if they could help with anything. The kindest of the people around me was immeasurable.
Finally, it was time. My heart was beating out of my chest. Cyan waited with me in the bathroom across the hall. Yours (The Wedding Version) by Russell Dickerson played as I walked with my miniature into the room. I hugged my stepdads, kissed my Daddy, and stepped up to the teary-eyed man who would become my husband. The ceremony was beautiful. Cassie, our minister, spoke so eloquently, while Ashley captured some of the most important moments of my life. It was that day that John & I said, “I do” to one another, and when asked who would be giving me away, it was my Daddy who said, “I do.”
We kissed and cried and danced and drank sparkling juices, and when it was all over, we invited the nursing and hospital staff in to share our cake and happiness. It wasn’t the wedding I had imagined as a girl – it was better, because it meant so much to have my Daddy and our immediate family to experience it with me.
There is so much more, dear friends, but my heart is tired this morning. Keep checking in — I’ll have Part 3 of our story up soon.
So much love to you all, XO.