Author Topic: Empty Arm  (Read 439 times)


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Empty Arm
« on: September 13, 2017, 11:34:37 AM »
My daughter is getting married in 9 days. Hard to believe the date is upon us as we have been planning and prepping and distracted by so many wonderful things since she announced this was happening a year ago.

Her joy is powerfully tinged by a sadness that runs deep. She is a happy woman and fulfilled in her life. She loves her fiance. She made a solid choice and found someone who is perfect for her. She cannot even talk about her empty arm though.

I tried early on to offer her my arm to hold as she walks down the aisle and she just sort of looked at me like this was the hardest subject she had ever faced. Her father will be missing- no avoiding it with a substitute. Simply put, she doesn't want a substitute.

She has faced so many of these moments. She was 17 when he died. High school graduation was so soon afterwards. First day of college. College graduation. Falling in love. At each of these moments she has expressed to me how hard it be without her Dad. Wedding day without him at her side has got to be the worst. She loves him so much! He should be there, toasting her and dancing with her.

It isn't fair.

I don't know what she is planning to do. Endure the empty arm? Ask his best friend who will be there to stand in? Ask me? I've asked her again and it became clear that I should not ask again. Patience.

I had a little charm made for her bouquet that is a sixpence with his birth year- I had another one made that I just can't give her...too says "we walk with you today and always". I tried to tell my MIL about it and I couldn't even get the words out. It would slay my daughter I think so I've put it away and won't use it.

This will be the best wedding, a great party. Fun. Lively. We will have our loved ones around us. Our friends. Great food, great music. Gorgeous setting on the beach at sunset. Details filled with all of the love I could muster which is saying a lot because I love her like none other.

And still

someone is missing. That his spirit will be beside her has taken only a very tiny chip out of the pain and I wish I could feel like it was a larger consolation.

I think I am doing my boo-hoo-hooing today so I don't make a scene. My hankie-for-the-day is printed with forget-me-nots.

Fat chance of forgetting.



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Re: Empty Arm
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2017, 12:41:23 PM »
I totally get how you are feeling.  We just went thru this a few weeks ago.  My daughter decided that I would walk her down the aisle and I agreed.  I wasn't sure how it was going to go - if either or both of us would end up bawling the entire way down, but it went well.  Neither of us cried, I think we were so excited and caught up in the moment.  She had his picture in her bouquet.  Instead of the father/daughter dance, my son and I danced with her.  I kept telling myself that as much as he was going to be missed, I had to focus on my daughter and enjoying her day with her because I didn't want to cry all day and regret not having fun. She also had a candle with a picture of him on the entrance table. 

I hope your daughter's wedding day goes just as well!!!


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Re: Empty Arm
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2017, 12:43:54 PM »
I feel you did your best offering her advice, options, and suggestions. In the end, it's her decision and it's good to let her know you support her any which way. I've told my girls there is no exact proper or improper way, wrong or right, forget Miss Manners! It is all just what they feel they need when the time comes. This came up even though my girls are just teens.

You are a good mother - enjoy the moment!


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Re: Empty Arm
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2017, 02:34:50 PM »
Congrats on daughter's wedding.. Don't have any advice or suggestion but just a tight hug.. I keep thinking the same how will it happen when my son finishes his degree etc...


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Re: Empty Arm
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2017, 06:31:09 PM »
What beautiful sentiments, Jeudi.  I’m so sorry you and so many others are going through all these important milestones without the loving presence of our dearly departed spouses.  You have given your daughter several heartfelt ideas, and she will do whatever she feels most comfortable doing on her special day.  I know it’s particularly difficult for our children, and we want to ease the pain of their loss, but they may each respond differently. 

My son graduated from culinary school, married, and had our first grandbaby since his dad passed away ten years ago, and it still hurts…all of us.  Still we keep living and make the best of this new life without our loved ones.  Personally, my sons and I honor him by showing the passion he had in life.

The wedding plans sound absolutely lovely.  Although your daughter's dear father won’t be there in person, hopefully his love and spirit will be deeply felt.  I love the idea of the charm, photos, mementos, and stories to keep his memory alive.  Wishing you, your daughter and all the loved ones surrounding you on this special occasion a day filled with precious new memories.