I had been engaged two weeks. It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. But my father had just passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. It was June 2.
My world felt so meaningless after losing my dad. The sandwiches, my career writing about celebrities, the clothes I wore. Food. Air. Weddings.
I wrote about this time in the book, “300 Sandwiches: A Multilayered Love Story….with Recipes“:
“For days after his death, I couldn’t look at anything joyful without seeing my father’s face. Fluffy cumulus clouds on a summer day. French bulldogs. Boats. Ice cream sandwiches. I wondered if I’d ever be able to look at anything that made me happy without crying.”
We buried my father on June 6. The same day as my soon to be wedding anniversary. E and I didn’t plan on that—in fact, I only realized the coincidence a few moments before writing the previous sentences.
Remember back some time ago when I talked about my fear of having our wedding on a somber holiday? D-Day was what I was referring to, I was still grieving too deeply to relate the two events to each other, or to even refer to my father’s burial in that post. Now, a year later, three days before our wedding, I believe the dates align for some larger purpose for me. The wedding gives me a reason to smile on June 6. To think about what I’ve gained—a partner for life, an extended family, happiness—rather than what I’ve lost.
I miss my father more than anything. I was sad for months that he wouldn’t be with us for the wedding. I broke out into uncontrollable tears on random occasions during wedding planning. E almost had to turn of “The Theory of Everything” one night because I had soaked through my t-shirt crying through the entire movie. Seeing how Jane Hawking cared for Stephen Hawking during his illness reminded me of my own parents (without the affairs).
We channeled my father, a Navy man who loved fishing and the outdoors, into every aspect of #the300wedding. We’re getting married on an island. I’m eating fresh mahi mahi and yellowfin tuna every day and driving an open air mini-moke around town. We’ll charter a boat on Monday after the festivities for the family. My villa guests have all acknowledged his memory in one way or another. My future mother in law stopped me yesterday after dinner and said she literally saw him in me when I made a certain expression.
I wrote this of my dad in the book about his presence at my wedding:
“Dad would still be with us at the wedding. Except he’d have a better seat. From above, in heaven… healthy as can be, smiling down at us as we said, ‘I do.'”