A bride’s father passed away during her wedding, taking his last breath as she said: “I do”.

The moment Natalie Hoskinson found out about her 73-year-old father’s critical condition, she immediately brought forward her wedding, so he could be there for this special moment.

The 37-year-old bride from Kewarra Beach, Queensland, Australia, told The Sun:

“One Thursday my mum, Stase, rang. To my horror, I learnt what we thought were sore back muscles from Dad working out too hard was actually his lung tumour growing.”

Natalie’s father, David, loved his girl and supported her unconditionally. He encouraged her and believed in her like no one else. As she shares, he was her ‘biggest cheerleader’. So, when Natale’s boyfriend, Tim, proposed to her, she couldn’t wait to hear her father’s wedding speech.

However, the engaged couple still hadn’t set a date for their marriage ceremony.

Then, one day, Natalie’s mother told her the devastating news of her dad’s illness.

At first, Natalie wasn’t concerned, as her father had already lived 13 years longer than doctors predicted after he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 60. The bride shares:

“He’d battled cancer of the bowel, throat, lung and colon. He’d gone from a muscly hulk to 60kg and back again, visiting the gym daily.”

Natalie and her older sister, Selina, even joked their father was the Bionic Man. Unfortunately, David’s condition was far more complicated.

Even though David insisted on being fine, doctors were concerned he had breathing difficulties. Over only a few days, his condition rapidly deteriorated. However, his family was still hopeful he would bounce back from the illness, as he had done many times before. Shockingly, they soon found out he was in terrible pain.

As David tried to talk, his family couldn’t understand anything he was trying to say. Natalie explains:

“We gave him morphine and he fell asleep. The next day Jude, Dad’s nurse for 13 years, came to see us. ‘I’m sorry, he’ll never wake again,’ she said softly.
‘He can hear you but this is the end for him.’”

The bride-to-be was devastated. She even offered to trade her own life with her father’s. But she soon understood nothing could be done.

“Just as I said ‘I do’, I felt Dad’s spirit leave. As always, he’d been there with me to the very end.”

Once Natalie realized her father’s life was at its end, all she wished for was for him to see her as a beautiful bride, and to be there by her side on this special day. She admits that through all the pain she was experiencing, the heartache, and the tears, she had an idea. If she and Tim married at the hospital, her father would be able to attend the wedding.

“Tim agreed so I texted my best friend Todd, a celebrant, who lived a three-hour flight away. ‘Can you marry us tomorrow?’ I asked tearfully. Thankfully, we’d already filled out all the paperwork.”

During that night, Natalie, her sister, and their mother stayed in David’s hospital room. The next morning, the future bride went home to grab a white dress, and quickly returned to the hospital. Jude, David’s nurse, helped with the organization.

When Natalie stepped into the hospital hallway, accompanied by her nieces, she couldn’t believe what was happening.

“The sun streamed through the window and a red carpet led to where Tim waited, with Todd strumming a guitar next to him. Mum walked me down the aisle past the weeping nurses to where Dad lay in his bed. ‘Look, Dad, your little girl is a bride,’ I whispered, giving him a hug.”

As she turned her face to her future husband, her dad let out a little sigh of happiness. Seconds after, he passed away. Natalie continues:

“At the funeral, Selina and I delivered Dad’s eulogy. We joked at how tough it was having boyfriends because Dad’s bulk would scare them off. And he’d always joked he’d haunt us after he died. ‘Please Dad,’ I wept. ‘Hurry up and haunt us.’”

Now David’s younger daughter shares a wedding anniversary with her father’s death. As heartbreaking as it is, she is happy that her dad was beside her on her wedding day.

Natalie is also incredibly grateful to the staff at Cairns Private Hospital, who, as she says, ‘went above and beyond’ to make her dream of having her father attend her wedding true. Through tears, she shares:

“There was so much love in that little hallway. Our dad died at 73, a role model to so many. Despite horrendous pain, he never lost his sense of humour or his love for life. Dad never did get to deliver a wedding speech but in the end, it didn’t matter. The love he showed me will remain in my heart forever.”

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