Dying Dad’s Unforgettable Dance With Bride

USATODAY_HumankindPublished: January 9, 2019Updated: January 10, 2019
Published: January 9, 2019Updated: January 10, 2019

The last father-daughter dance. A dad’s last love is his daughter; a daughter’s first love is her dad. When the two lock eyes for the first time in the room where she entered the world, it is a forged bond forever. That’s what makes this video so hard to comment on.

We are told the dad at the center of this video is dying, and we can see that it is his daughter’s wedding day. He is giving her away to another man, as must happen everywhere in nature, and yet it can be an irreconcilable pain. You’ve heard the saying, “I’m not losing a daughter, I’m gaining a son,” and yet the father has had the love of his daughter all to himself for her whole life. Now, that situation must change. It is doubly hard knowing that the father must also give up his life. The girl, grown up into womanhood, will be handed off to someone else, and then the father’s job is done. It’s like the salmon swimming upstream for the last time, and probably a lot harder than that because at least the salmon never emotionally bonds with its children.

How can life be so full of unbounded joy and intense sorrow simultaneously? As they waltz on the floor, he in a wheelchair (but not to be defined by the wheelchair), she in her wedding gown, they reunite with their beginning together so many years ago. He breaks down, not because this is the end, but because he has recovered that authentic, inviolate affection, as fresh as it was in the beginning.

The woman is Mary Bourne, and her loving father has a disease called glioblastoma, a fast growing malignant tumor in the brain. Its symptoms are unimaginably difficult to suffer, but at least dad isn’t alone with his pain. It is a mark of a life whose ripening fruit is the sweetest on the tree. Raising a family and successfully passing on a new generation is difficult enough. Everything is supposed to be calculable and controllable in our formulated society, but it’s not. Bad things can happen to good people, yet we struggled to squeeze out the very best legacy we can with the extra energy we are given.

This scene is the consolation prize of all that blood, sweat, and tears. So many tears. We must believe that nothing ever really ends, that all of our emotional investment doesn’t just end at some point in time. All of our money and possessions is just vanity in the end, but the father-daughter relationship is eternal. For those who have experienced it, nothing can compare to it, and nothing can pry it apart.

There will be tough times, trying times, when both will be challenged to remember the beginning. Like the two sides of a clam shell, it takes a lot to break such a bond. Indeed, it is nearly impossible. We can’t really see the full scope of what’s transpiring here. The real dance is taking place in heaven.

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