I’m getting married 8/3/12. I’m so excited for the day with the exception of a major reception pressure/stresser. My dad was diagnosed with progressive Parkinson’s about 3 years ago. He needs tremendous help to stand, move, and when in a wheel chair cannot move himself. Since the onset of his disease he has also been plagued with severe panic attacks that cause him to sweat through his clothing, hyperventilate and just plain freak out. He is also almost entirely non-verbal. With that said, my photographer and dj have inquired if we will be doing a father/daughter dance. As much as I have always wanted to dance with my father I cannot see this happening with his condition at present state. My mother is insisting he is practicing and will be ready to go. I can’t physically hold my father up alone and am nervous/worried. I know my mom is trying to think positively but I’m freaking. How can I involved my father for this type tradition?
Wow, that’s really sweet that he is still trying and practicing. That’s amazing.
Is your fiance planning on a dance with his mother? If not, and you both skip it, I don’t know that anyone would notice. Otherwise, maybe you could dedicate a song to your dad later in the night and just spend that time sitting with him, not in front of everyone? Maybe that’s stupid. I don’t know.
I have seen it done where you can both sit in a chair, your arms around eachother and sway, you can move his wheelchair around, or just talk to your parents and find out what exactly he has been practicing. It sounds liek the dance is really important to your dad and even if it is just a short dance, I would absolutely find a way to do it. even if it is a modified dance.
You could go over and see your dad practicing so you know where he is at with it. Don’t take this moment from your dad. He obviously wants this so bad that he is practicing a year in advance. It means alot to a dad. Let him do whatever he is comfortable with and just be as understanding and supportive as you can, this one song is his moment as much as it is yours. He must love you so much to go to all the work to make it happen. What a sweet man.
My dad also has Parkinson’s (diagnosed 4 years ago), but not as advanced in terms of physical limitations. However, my dad broke his shoulder a couple months before my wedding, which led to more difficulties. My honest advice, would be to, if he’s able, choose your father daughter dance and have the two of your on the dance floor alone for 30 seconds to a minute– and use that song to open the dance floor. That way, you two can bow out gracefully, but you still have the memory and pictures of dancing with your dad. –if he’s physically capeable.
On the anxiety… boy, do I understand this! My dad has battled panic attacks his entire life and Parkinson’s has made so much worse. My dad takes Xanax and, well, popped as many as he needed. He made it through just fine.
I’ll never forget our dance– he cried and told me how proud he was of me. I kept telling him I’d always be his little girl. I really hope you can work something out because it is special.
Also, if your dad thinks he can do it, let him try. Just let your vendors that it may or may not happen. They’ll run the show smoothly either way.
This was something we had to consider as well. My Mother-In-Law is a diabetic, she had an amputation and wears a prosthetic on one foot and is often fighting infections on the other. She is primarily wheelchair bound.
Our first decision was to do a joint dance, we had one song and while I danced with my father, Darling Husband danced with his mom. We thought it would be best to take the pressure off especially since we did not know if she would be on her feet. Our DJ suggested that if she was in the chair that Darling Husband could hold her hands and swing her around a little. Try looking it up on YouTube for a better idea.
We were extremely lucky, she was on her feet for the walk down the isle, grand entrance, pictures and to dance with her son. If he was holding her up, I was none the wiser.
Maybe your mom is right and your dad will find inner strength if motivated (Dancing with his daughter.) Just keep an open mind, theres no reason you can’t dance with him in the chair.
It’s a really stressful situation. Since my dad is non-verbal I’m not even sure he understands we are getting married. If he does speak which is rare, its usually non-coherent. I’m sure that his ‘wanting to dance with me’ is really my mom holding onto the idea that my dad will have a full recovery and the doctors are telling her this isn’t possible. It’s a tough spot when you have a very ill parent and the other sees things through rosy glasses!
@mickeees: Well, that sort of sounds like you don’t want to have the dance at all– and that’s totally different. In that case, just skip those dances. Nothing wrong with that. When you give your thank you toast, just be sure to acknowledge your parents.
It’s not that I don’t want it. Because honestly, I do. I just feel like realistically it’s not possible and to put that much pressure on a man who can’t walk/move/or talk without assistance is a lot of burden. I guess I really need alternatives to spotlight how much my father means during the reception.
Personally I LOVE the idea the PP had…do a slideshow and play it to the song you would have danced to. Sit with your dad and watch it. I’m sure everyone will understand and honestly I’m getting emotional just thinking about how meaningful it would be!
Ask your photog to get special pictures of the two of you watching the slideshow together.
You are so strong and I know this must be really hard! Try talking to your mom about what may be best for your dad, instead of what is best for the “traditions” of a wedding.
In that case, I love the idea of a picture slide show with a song playing while you just sit with your dad and hold his hand.
I understand the position your mom is in – accepting the permanent nature of something like PD is really…REALLY hard.
As for his language – has he had a neuropsych evaluation? They can assess how cognitively aware he is – and if appropriate, set him up with a communication device. They’d also be able to tell your mom in a sensitive and realistic way what he is and is not comprehending.
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