Today marks 15 years since my dad unexpectedly passed away during the night from complications of pneumonia. I am still sad that I never got to say a final good-bye, but also relieved that he passed quickly and there was no prolonged suffering. We all knew he had extensive health issues, but I don’t think any of us were expecting to say good bye so soon.
It was bitter cold the day dad passed away. When the temperatures drop it always brings up those feelings of sadness and reflection. I was in my second year of university at the time and it now feels like a lifetime ago that my older sister and I were rushing home in our little Honda Civic to be with mom and our other two siblings.
After years of tending to us kids as a stay at home dad, it feels like dad put in the hard work and got robbed of all the good grown-up moments with us. I am sad my dad never got to meet my husband or children, see me graduate university, visit my home, advise me on new car purchases, snuggle with my dogs (he always wanted a bulldog), or be there at my wedding to walk me down the aisle.
When it came to planning my wedding almost 10 years ago, he was definitely in the front of my mind. I am sure he would have loved me to have a big wedding with all his extended family, but a lot of those ties got lost with his passing. Instead, I was excited that my husband-to-be was on board with having an intimate destination wedding at Disney World.
Planning our wedding was pretty easy. The Disney Fairytale Wedding packages made it super simple to plan a wedding, although I felt like since we went with the most inexpensive package there was less room for personalization. I got to choose from one of 5 bouquet options and went with the one that was made up of roses and stephanotis flowers accented with pearls. (Can you spot the hidden Mickey’s? )
Since my dad wouldn’t be at my wedding, I knew I had to find a way to honor his memory. Without him there to walk me down the aisle, I decided incorporating something into the bouquet would be a good way for him to come with me down the aisle. I was able to choose the color of my roses so I went with a mix of cream and peach to match my dress, as well as two very special red roses.
The significance of the two red roses go all the way back to my older sister’s birth. When she was born my dad bought my mom one dozen red roses. For my birth, he upped it to two dozen and then continued on the tradition with three dozen red roses for my younger sister’s birth and four dozen more at my brother’s birth. It was a simple and loving gesture, and although I know my mom thought the money would have been better spent elsewhere, it ended up holding a lot of meaning in our family.
My sisters both stood in as my bridesmaids so I ended up choosing simple and inexpensive flower wands for each of them. My older sister got one red rose in hers, and my youngest sister’s was made up of three red roses to represent the three dozen mom got when she was born.
I wasn’t sure how to incorporate my brother, since he was 4th born and I didn’t think he would want to carry around a bunch of red roses for the day. I was so glad when my wedding planner told me that mini roses were an option that could be made into his boutonniere.
In honour of dad, I bought myself two dozen red roses to mark today’s anniversary. They are a wonderful way to bring joy and beauty into my home on this cold and sad day.
I love the life I have built and believe my dad would be proud of all that I have accomplished, but it is hard not to wonder how different things might be if he was still physically on earth with us.
Miss you dad.