Savvy October 2019

My wedding is 72 days away and my dad just died...

Michaila, on July 23, 2019 at 1:21 PM Posted in Family and Relationships 0 20
Saved Save
...what do you do?

I mean, I knew it was a possibility. He had early onset Alzheimer's and congenitial heart failure and was in the ER last week needing oxygen and we saw a significant decline when he came out, much less alert, muttering and moaning, head down, clearly in pain. It was heartbreaking to watch. I mean, I was able to be there when he passed with my mom but still.
Coincidentally right around the time I started dating my FH, I came to terms with the fact that my dad and namesake might not make it to my wedding day. And I was mostly okay with that. As okay as you can be. I've had our daddy daughter dance picked out since I was four years old ("You're My Little Girl" by Go Fish if you're curious) and was able to dance with him to it at a church daddy daughter tea function and get that video taped so at least I'd have something. This was April of 2018.

Fast forward, proposal in December of 2018. Planning an October 2019 wedding. Not that far away. Maybe he'll actually make it. I get my hopes up again because he's still doing really well.

Last month and a half after moving into full time memory care (finally) he's really really declined and these complications just came up rather suddenly and now he's gone. His whole family, mother, father, sisters, brother, in-laws, are all coming to the wedding (yes, my grandparents had to watch their 55 year old son die of Alzheimer's I hate this disease). His family is all in Minnesota. We're in Arizona and so is the wedding. His sister for sure has already bought her plane ticket for the wedding, maybe others have too. I'm supposed to send out invitations this week. How do you deal with this????
The plan is to have some sort of wake or something here for my mom's side of the family and then cremate him and bring him to Minnesota for the funeral. He already has a grave plot at our family church next to my baby brother. There's no rush on the Minnesota funeral. I don't know what's going to happen with what's going on down here.

I don't want my wedding to feel like a wake! I can't reschedule - I'm a teacher and we picked the date based on when I get breaks. I don't want to push back. Besides, I can't afford to reschedule - it's half booked by now. Everything's almost done. What am I supposed to do?

I lost my maternal grandfather this time last year, my maternal grandmother a few years back, my oldest little brother is going to be at Basic and won't be able to get away because the recruiter lied to us which is apparently common practice so he won't be at the wedding, and now my dad. How am I supposed to handle this? Please help...


  • Melle
    Master June 2019
    Melle ·
    I'm so so sorry for your loss sending you hugs.

    Also, I think it's ok for you to still have your wedding on the date you designated because like you said it's already mostly booked and done anyway so you can't quite help that and your loved ones that are here and can come will still celebrate your love union and your father and other loved ones will shine brightly down on your day to bless it.
  • Laura
    Dedicated October 2019
    Laura ·
    I don’t have any good advice, but I wanted to say that I am so sorry for your loss! My dad died almost a year ago. It sounds like you were close to your dad (I was not), and you had hopes for what would happen with him at your wedding. I had a difficult relationship with my dad, but it is still heartbreaking to know he won’t be at my wedding. I would say all you can do is take things one day at a time. Your wedding doesn’t need to be like a wake! There are many ways to memorialize loved ones who are gone without making that the main focus. I hope that you will find something that will feel right for you. Again, I am very sorry.
  • Sharon
    Dedicated October 2020
    Sharon ·
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine what you're going through right now. It sounds like you and your dad were very close. He'd probably want you to go ahead with things as planned and enjoy your day celebrating your love. I know it'll be hard. He'll be there with you. And it sounds like your family could use a fun, celebratory day.
  • Kelly
    Expert October 2019
    Kelly ·
    I have no advice, but I am so very, very sorry for ur loss.
  • Jill
    Dedicated May 2020
    Jill ·

    I am so very sorry for your loss. As others said, it sounds like you two were very close. I lost my dad in 2011 and my mom in 2014. I can tell you, planning a wedding without those important people there for you is tough. It almost feels wrong to be so joyous without those key people present. That being said, I think you should still have your wedding in October and not push it back, especially since you have already paid for half of it and others have paid for travel. I would find some ways to honor him at your wedding. Having a picture of you two tied around your bouquet, memorial table, or something of that nature. You could even show the video of you two dancing if you really wanted to (I would know your audience for this one). Again, I am so sorry for what you are having to go through so close to your wedding day. Sending lots of hugs and love.

  • Allaura
    Dedicated April 2021
    Allaura ·
    I’m so sorry for your loss. I also have like zero advice other than find some way to honor him and make it a celebration of a new beginning rather than and end.
  • Kristin
    Super November 2019
    Kristin ·

    I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. I am in a similar boat with my FMIL. FH and I got engaged last March and I insisted on a long engagement. Fast forward a year and we learn that FMIL has pancreatic cancer. They gave us the impression it was stage 2. Fast forward now to July 3rd and we learn it's been stage 4 the whole time, Chemo has done nothing, and there is a very real possibility she wont make it to our November wedding. We, fortunately, are in the position to throw together a small family ceremony so she can watch her baby boy get married on August 17th. As much as it pains to me to have to do this, I am glad we have the opportunity to do so and wish you would have had the same opportunity.

    We are still having the big family celebration in November as planned but know that she could pass at any time. I have the same concerns that it could turn into a sad gathering rather than a celebration if she is taken from us before then but she made us promise we would go ahead with everything as planned. My FSIL lost a member of her (now) husband's family 3 days before her wedding and it was hard to celebrate there were definitely some sad moments, but it was also a bit of a relief, to have something so happy to distract from the sadness and loss.

    I would say, go ahead as planned. Remember him in all his glory, and know he is there with you. Know he wouldn't want to be the reason you don't take this wonderful step in life with your FH. Be sad, its okay, but enjoy the love that surrounds you and the excitement that awaits you. Best of luck sweetheart!

  • Kelly
    VIP October 2020
    Kelly ·
    I'm so sorry for your loss. You're clearly a nice woman having included your father despite his diagnosis. I'm sure you're also strong and will find a way to sort everything out.
    My grandmother died from Alzheimer's last year, I was one of her care takers, I was finishing college and graduation speaker. I was exhausted but I did it. I imagine you'll feel similar. Be sure to rest after!
  • Christine
    Devoted September 2020
    Christine ·

    I'm so sorry for your loss. This must be such a difficult time for you and your family. I think you can keep your date and honor your father at the wedding by having a memorial table set up with pictures of him, or something along those lines. You can decide later if you'd like to play the video of you and your father dancing during your wedding or if you want to show the video at the rehearsal dinner instead (and I'm so sorry if that's an insensitive suggestion - I'm just trying to brainstorm ways to make the wedding seem less wake-like). You can definitely honor his memory at your wedding while also celebrating the new life you have ahead of you with your FH.

  • Jenna
    Super October 2019
    Jenna ·

    I am so dearly sorry for your loss. From your post, it sounds like you had a great relationship with him before this devastating disease took over. I would imagine that he would want you to go through with your wedding as scheduled and not postpone. I would say to have his funeral beforehand so people (you included) have a chance to grieve and honor his life, and keep the event completely separate from your wedding. Find a way to honor him at your wedding that feels right to you and keep in mind how happy he'd want you to be.

  • L
    Savvy August 2020
    Leslie ·
    I am so sorry to hear about your loss so close to the wedding. Some people do a memorial table bit it is obviously a personal decision. I migjt suggest that you try to keep your wedding about celebrating your special day (your dad would have wanted it this way) and rather than a memorial table, make a special toast to him during the speeches part of the reception. This way, he is part of your celebration without it feeling heavy and sad all night. Hopefully🥺
  • Susan
    Master March 2015
    Susan ·

    I am so sorry for your loss, Alzhiemer's is a terrible disease to deal with anytime, let alone while planning a wedding. I lost my father before the big day ( lucky to have emergency hospital one he was there for, but too sick to dance. He died 4.5 days later). Fast forward a few months, to big day. I had a table with my parents wedding picture (Mom died when I was a kid), along with those of all the grandparents. I also had a memorial vase made on etsy or ebay and filled it with wax to match the wedding. It was personalized with my parents names and dob-dod. Our names on the back. you might consider something like that or there is also the option of locketts for shoes or bouquets with his picture. Maybe wear a piece of his jewelry or carry his hankerchief. While this doesn't bring him back a peice of him will be with you. I had my brothers walk me down the aisle at the wedding, which was hard but I made it. Again I am so sorry for your loss, but know he will be there in spirit.

  • Daniella
    Just Said Yes December 2017
    Daniella ·

    I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my father suddenly at 26 and it was so painful and scary. I hope you see his strength in you and know that you are a part of this beautiful man's legacy. My husband and I lit a candle at our wedding in memorial of those who are with us in spirit. Our program listed their names and relationships. (Both of our grandparents, my father, and three of his uncles.) It was a brief part of the ceremony. The rest of the ceremony had songs and readings that celebrated our love.

  • M
    Devoted October 2019
    Melodie ·
    Michaila, I’m so sorry that you lost your father. I hope that you have a supportive fiancé and family to support you during this time. I don’t think there are right or wrong answers, I think you just need to go forward with your planning however you want. Listen to your gut. Again, I’m so sorry for your loss.
  • Rebecca
    Super August 2019
    Rebecca ·

    I'm so sorry. I lost my aunt to early onset Alzheimer's 11 years ago, and it is truly awful.


    Let yourself grieve. Create a space for him at the wedding. Don't try and take everything on right now, let your family speak up and say what they need.

  • J
    Savvy July 2019
    Joanie ·

    I am SO so sorry......sending hugs to you

  • Bridget
    VIP August 2019
    Bridget ·

    Im sooo sorry for your loss... I think you should continue with your original date. But maybe you could dance with your mom to the song you picked out while playing the video of you and him dancing. It would be a tear jerker for sure but it would also be a great way to still include him in the moment you've always envisioned.

  • J
    Dedicated October 2020
    Jenny ·
    Remember him on your day in the most special way possible. A picture of him in a locket on your bouquet. “Save” a seat for him right in the front row with his picture on it. Play your song during your reception and show a slideshow of pictures of you. We are having a “we know that you’d be here today is heaven wasn’t so far away” table at our reception with pictures of all of our loved ones who can’t be with us physically. And most importantly, remember that just because he isn’t there physically, he is watching over you and continuing to love you from where he is now. ❤️ Praying for you and your family
  • Tbear
    Devoted October 2019
    Tbear ·

    My FFIL just passed away 3 months ago after dealing with dementia and advanced Parkinson's disease.

    My FH's biological father passed away almost 20 years ago.

    I tried to incorporate them both into the wedding to honor their memories and their guidance when helping raise the man that I love. They were both avid bird watchers. I found out what their favorite bird was and had bought replicas (A Blue bird and an Oriole) that will both be "sitting" above us at the altar archway.

    Maybe find a way to memorialize your father at the wedding. He obviously helped create and raise an amazingly passionate and caring soul.

    I am sending lots of love and light and I hope that your wedding helps both you and your family celebrate both sides of the coin: life and death.

    It's time to start living and loving. He guided you all of his life towards thar goal. He would want that for you.

  • Laura
    Rockstar October 2019
    Laura ·

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I had a friend who's dad died the morning of her wedding. I can't imagine either. She went ahead with her wedding because it's what her dad would have wanted her to do. I know it was hard for her, but he wouldn't have wanted her to cancel it after all the planning, and i'm sure your father would tell you the same thing if he could.

    I lost my mom when I was 14 and my dad at 17. I lost my grandma when I was 20, and my cousin/best friend a few years ago. My FH has lost his parents, two brothers, and a sister. We will DEFINITELY feel their losses at our wedding, but I totally understand what you mean about not wanting it to feel like a wake. We are doing a memorial table with their photos along with a candle, and doing a memory dance. Some people have an empty chair for a parent or close loved one. We aren't doing that, but it's a nice idea.

    My FH's oldest son may be deployed just before our wedding and that's hard. He wants us to go ahead with our plans though. I would just keep your wedding date and give yourself some time to grieve too. This is not easy I sadly know firsthand. I wish you didn't have to feel this kinda pain. I don't want anyone to anytime, let alone during what's supposed to be a happy time.

Comment on this discussion