This is an emotional post for me. I’ve dreaded writing it because every time I think about it, I start crying… I’m crying now. But it’s important for me to write because it was one of the most memorable moments from our wedding… an unplanned moment, even. And I really do want to share it with you.
My Papa (grandpa) was my hero. He was one of those guys that you instantly liked and respected. He had a no nonsense, selfless, and fun loving way about him that just drew people in. About 4 years ago, he was diagnosed with multiple types of cancer. By the time my wedding came around he had already had 2 brain surgeries and lost his ear to the cancer- but he was in a sort of remission. Because of his pride and goal to get better, he had refused to see anyone but our immediate family since getting sick. But he willingly pushed it aside for our wedding. And a few songs into the dance floor opening up, “American Girl” by Tom Petty came on and my Papa grabbed my hands and pulled me into the center of the dance floor.
My Papa and I hadn’t danced since I was a little girl
And here he was swinging me around the dance floor… and to Tom Petty, no less.
Everyone cleared from the dance floor and just gave us our moment. But I hadn’t even noticed until I got our pictures back. Because it was just us…
… laughing and dancing and having one of the absolute best moments of my life.
As the song drifted to an end… I hugged him with every ounce of love inside of me.
This was my Papa. The person I strive to be like. The man who did the artwork on all my birthday cakes and brought me bento boxes full of rice balls and Japanese food during my grade school lunches. He went to every soccer match and taught me how to drive his car. He called me Baby, Josie, George… none of which are my name. 🙂
My Papa passed away last April. Shortly after the wedding, his cancer came back and attacked every part of his body from his legs to his brain again.
He fought it until the end, again providing an amazing example to me of what to do in that situation. I miss him so much—but am even more glad that he no longer has to suffer.
As he exited the dance floor he hugged my mom, something he hadn’t done since my parents were together some 20 years ago…
… and then embraced my dad.
I’m so blessed that our wedding was so full of love.
On our way to our honeymoon the next day, I sat in the airplane looking out the window, just playing that moment over and over again in my head. At one point Mr. Espresso grabbed my hand, and as I looked over at him, he started talking about how great that moment was… our minds were on the same page. Mr. E had become like another grandson to my Papa; and I always felt a sense of pride watching the two of them talk and connect on their views of working hard, life, and Wienerschnitzel. 🙂
When I visited my Grandma Chicken this last Christmas, she handed me a present my Papa had made for me while he was sick. He had taken a pine cone from our wedding and painted white on each tip to make it look like snow. He then placed a bow and wire on it and had turned it into an ornament for our tree.
This was the kind of man he was. I miss him. My entire family does. But now I have these pictures, this song, this post… to always help me remember this moment.
Embrace your wedding… your family…
Embrace what it’s really all about.
Thanks for letting me write about my Papa.
Miss something? Catch up here:
Weekend Mountain Wedding: And We Danced
Weekend Mountain Wedding: Cheers!
Weekend Mountain Wedding: Details, Details, and More Details
Weekend Mountain Wedding: an Abandoned House and an Open Field
Weekend Mountain Wedding: The Bridge, Part 2
Weekend Mountain Wedding: The Bridge, Part 1
Weekend Mountain Wedding: It’s All Relative
Weekend Mountain Wedding: A Whole Lot of Love
Weekend Mountain Wedding: We Say I Do!!!
Weekend Mountain Wedding: A Walk Beneath the Pines
Weekend Mountain Wedding: The Procession of Little Black Dresses
Weekend Mountain Wedding: The Clock Strikes Two
Weekend Mountain Wedding: The Dress Comes On
Weekend Mountain Wedding: Fancy Men at Dreamland
Weekend Mountain Wedding: Time to Get Beautified
Weekend Mountain Wedding: Morning Time
Weekend Mountain Wedding: Fancy vs. Not Fancy at the Rehearsal
Weekend Mountain Wedding: The Day Before
Weekend Mountain Wedding: Proof That It Did In Fact Happen
All photos by the amazingly talented Sandra Salisbury