I walked by Taylor’s father resting on the couch several times as I traveled between photographing details at the back of the house and Taylor getting into her wedding dress in one of the rooms. He was patiently waiting to see his beautiful daughter with his fingers intertwined and anxious. Taylor’s main request for their wedding photos was that I get a lot of her father. So we planned a special “first look” with her dad, followed by a prayer. Then the audience was hushed as he walked Taylor down the aisle with joy. When it came to the daddy-daughter dance, there was not a dry eye there.
With Taylor’s permission, I am sharing her story below. This is why I do what I do. When our loved ones pass on, photos and videos are all we have left to remember them. Photos are so important.
My dad was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer on December 31, 2017, 2 weeks after Alex and I got engaged. When my parents told us about the diagnoses, right away there was that instant fear. My dad quickly calmed us and told us that he is going to give everything he had to fight this and that no matter what, God is in control. Through every chemo treatment, he was a total rock star. While he was going through this, and I was planning our wedding at the same time, it was hard because I wanted to make sure he felt good enough to walk me down the isle. As our wedding day came closer, my dad was doing good. My biggest request for Kaci was to get as many pictures of my dad and I together. I wanted these memories to be captured. On my wedding day I was filled with so much joy and happiness because my dad was there to walk my down the isle and to dance with me and he was feeling good that day. My dad and I have danced many times before, at daddy daughter dances, other weddings, family parties and even just in our living room, but my dance with him on my wedding day will always be the most special for so many reasons. The whole time we danced he just sang the song to me and smiled so proudly. Something I will never forget. Four months after our wedding, my dad went to be with Jesus as his fight with cancer came to an end. Just two weeks before that, he became a grandparent ( Tata is what he wanted to be called) for this very first time as my older sister gave birth to her son. My dad was able to enjoy the baby for a short time, but was so proud.
In my family, there are 4 girls and 1 boy. My brother and my dad always had such a close relationship and one thing they always bonded over was baseball. My dad has coached all of us kids in sports and loved doing that. It was always my dad and brothers dream for him to go and play college baseball. My dad was able to watch him sign a baseball contract with UNLV and watched him move out there to start his college baseball career. However, my dad passed away the week before my brothers opening weekend of his freshmen year for baseball. To honor my dad, we save him a seat at every game and place his “UNLV Dad” shirt on the seat as we know dad would love to be there, just like he was always at every other game.
The photos that I have with my dad at our wedding is one of the most special things I have. I am the only daughter that he was able to walk down the isle, while that is so bitter sweet, I’m so thankful for those moments I got to have with him. I constantly look back at those photos and just smile so big when I see his face, his smile, and just remember the amazing man my dad was. He loved so much, gave my family everything, and was such a huge part of who we are. I will forever be heartbroken as I lost part of me, but I will always be so thankful for the years I got to spend with my dad. He gave his absolute best and truly gave the strongest fight. He will forever be the strongest person I will ever know, and I will always be so incredibly proud of him.
For anyone who is going through a personal or family sickness or has lost someone, just trust in the Lord. There is healing, strength, and joy that can come only through Christ. My dad loved the Lord and gave Him all the glory no matter what. He taught me that, and even though my family has gone through such heartbreak, we know that we will see my dad again because of the promise that God has given us. Talk to people you trust and allow grieving to happen. Never take moments for granted and always soak up the time you have with the ones you love.
Well done, dad. I love you always.