Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Katherine got married!!

Katherine's gift to dad
Saturday, May 21, my baby sister married a wonderful man. Martin has been such a blessing to our family and we couldn't imagine a better man for my sister. In preparation for her wedding, we had family and friends come in from all over the country and world. Katherine's beautiful friends showered her with love and support and the day went off without a hitch. With regard to dad, there were a couple of bumps in the road that Katherine took with great stride, patience, and grace. I wouldn't have expected less from her. She is the rock. Personally, I completely came apart multiple times between Friday and the father daughter dance at her reception, including her ceremony. Sorry about that Katherine.

mom and dad at the rehearsal dinner
Somehow on Friday, between all the family and last minute preparations, dad didn't take his medication in the morning. We knew by early afternoon because he had a seizure that caused him to fall. They immediately dosed him and had him rest. We wanted him to skip the rehearsal so he was strong for the dinner, but he insisted on coming. 

girls getting ready
Dad gave a wonderful prayer at the rehearsal dinner and was pretty strong most of the night. He walked around and enjoyed himself overall. So many people came up and showered Katherine and Martin with love and congratulations. The many speeches that were made highlighted how amazing my sister is. Her kindness and love of life inspires people and so many people commented on how she and Martin are a perfect pairing. Watching dad during these speeches, you could see him processing that everyone that meets Katherine thinks of her and loves her the way that we do. I can only imagine how proud my dad was to hear these accolades of his baby girl. 

On Saturday, meds were promptly dosed and the day at the church began around noon. The girls all hung around, ate, and shared stories and affirmations. If Katherine was nervous, you couldn't tell until we all lined up to walk down the aisle. While everyone was getting ready, many guests came early and joined dad in the sanctuary to hear the 12 piece orchestra warming up. Dad was in charge of the music at the church and was determined that the orchestra, with Diego and his sister on cello, would be there to usher Katherine and Martin in to the world as Mr. and Mrs. Haaga. 

Being in the back of the church, I was able to see dad and Katherine before they walked down the aisle. As the matron of honor, I was front and center, with my oldest Mia by my side, to watch daddy walk my baby sister down the aisle. This is the first time I couldn't contain my emotions. We had moved up plans and worked diligently since dad's diagnosis in December to make sure this very moment could happen. I was overcome with joy for my sister, compassion for my dad, and also sadness at the thought that now that we have gotten to this point, maybe dad won't fight anymore. I wanted to pause the moment. Make them stop, so dad would have something to fight and live for. 
After his seizure on Friday, he had told my mom that he only needed to stay alive for two more days. I needed him to still need to stay alive for this, every ounce of my being just wanted to slow this moment down and save it for dad. But it didn't. I knew it wouldn't. And so instead, I watched as Katherine came walking down the aisle. The most beautiful bride I'm sure almost everyone in that church had ever seen. With her dad... Wise, loving, strong at heart, but frail in body due to this monster that is taking him too soon from us. She walked with grace given to her from the many years of dance. She walked with the wisdom imparted to her by my dad. She walked with the love and kindness instilled in her by my mom. She walked. Slow. Beautiful. Purposeful. With my dad, straight in to the arms of the only man I could imagine being by her side on this day, and every other monumental day of her life. 
before walking down the aisle

During the ceremony, dad shook as he stood waiting for Sandy to ask him "who gives the woman to this man." It seemed like he gave a 10 minute homily as I stood there watching my dad shake and grab Martin for balance. This is where I watched as my sister's soon to be husband showed his love and compassion by holding dad's hand that grabbed his arm. He stayed focused on the words of the minister and maintained composure as I looked at him bawling and pleading with my eyes to please not let my dad fall. And he didn't. Dad gave Katherine away and sat down. The rest of the ceremony was seamless and Katherine and Martin were announced to the church as Mr. and Mrs. Haaga.

After the ceremony, we took pictures and went to the reception. Katherine and Martin had their first dance, and then dad and Katherine had their dance. This was where I cried the next time. Dad was a little thrown off by the way the band was playing the song, so he kind of was waiting until he recognized it. When he did, he pulled out all the stops with fancy footwork and spins. Once he started dancing, everyone clapped and cried. I watched and cried and saw my "real" dad out there with my sister on that dance floor. In his element and happy.

Everything about the reception and wedding was beautiful. The dances were great, the cakes were amazing, the German beer garden was relaxing and flowing with beer, the cigar station was occupied by dad and his friends, the band was outstanding, and the face painter had a line until she left. Everyone danced and ate and drank. Dad spent much of his time smoking cigars with his friends and joined mom for a slow dance and rounded out the evening dancing with me, then to Prince on the dance floor.
We all ushered Katherine and Martin out with sparklers and the day wound down.
My best fried Claire and her (now) fiance Drew, helped bring things to the house and hung out with dad playing guitar and talking. Drew lost his dad to GBM about 5 or 6 years ago, so he has a special perspective.
Dad, Mark, and Tim

Please continue to pray for guidance on dad's treatment and also for Katherine and Martin's new union. Thank you to everyone that came and those that helped and made this day possible!
You can find more pictures on Karen's blog

Father daughter dance


  1. Congratulations Katherine! Thank you for sharing, Buffy! I am crying while reading your update, and while writing this.
    I commend you and your family because despite of how time and circumstances challenge you, I see your selfless effort to inspire us with your wisdom and love for each other. I will continue to lift you in prayers. You have my love and support!

  2. I wish I could put it better than Ms. Perry did, but I can't. Thank you for sharing this!!

  3. What a beautiful celebration of family, love and new marriage! Katherine and Martin are indeed a perfect couple!