It was a day she’ll never forget, her daddy dressed in a sharp black suit accented with bright pink bowtie, her favorite color, hooked arm in arm as they slowly and steadily make their way down the homemade aisle placed perfectly in the backyard of the Kingsport, Tennessee, home she’s lived in since the day she was born.
“We had an arch and a preacher who came and spoke some of his really sweet words,” Whitney Moore, 20, said of the touching ceremony she and her father held with their family on June 14.
The occasion was so sentimental to Whitney’s father, David Moore, not because he was giving his away his daughter’s hand in marriage, but because he wasn’t. Rather, it was simply so this loving dad could walk his beautiful baby girl down the aisle, to share, relish in and celebrate this momentous occasion with her, before he leaves this world.
Moore, 68, has terminal liver cancer. Diagnosed last October, he’s only expected to have a handful of months left, exactly the reason Whitney wants to cherish every moment.
“I hope that that people look at this and are inspired,” she told ABC News. “If they’re as close with their daddies as I am, this is something they should do. I’m a true Christian believer and I have so much faith and I believe everything happens for a reason. For this to happen, yes it’s devastating news and I’ve questioned it and I’ve also gotten mad, but it’s truly opened my eyes to a lot of things.”
Whitney has always spent quality time with her father, but since his terminal cancer diagnosis, she says it has really reinforced what matters most.
“I have no regrets with my daddy,” she explained. “I have said what I wanted to say. I told him what he needed to know. And there’s no shame. I believe that everything happens for a reason and God doesn’t give you anything that you can’t handle.”
As the two stood underneath a poolside white arch, they both read personal, handwritten words they had thoughtfully prepared for each other.
“I had written out on a piece of paper what I wanted to say, and he did the same,” she recalled. “When he got his little letter out he had written to me, it was just so sweet. And in mine, I told him that no matter who I marry, he will always be my number one man. He was the first man that I loved. And honestly when my wedding day comes, it’s going to be hard, but there’s also no regrets and I know he’ll be smiling because he’s there.”
To top off the perfect occasion, Whitney and her daddy shared a perfect father-daughter dance to the song, “Daddy Dance With Me.”
But then, a surprise.
“I had no idea. I bawled my eyes out,” Whitney said of the unexpected gift her dad had arranged. “He had given me a box– a little silver plated, heart-shaped box. And it had engraved on it, ‘Daddy Loves You Sugar.’ When I was younger, and still to this day, whenever we’re on the phone, he’s like, ‘Hey, sugar.’ That’s word always stuck with him.”
Inside the box was a sparkling, silver-banded ring, one to always remind her of who loved her first.
Whitney is not engaged, therefore has no plans for wedding bells ringing in the near future, but one thing is for certain.
“I would always hope my dad lives to see that day come, but if not, the special day on June 14 was like I was getting married,” she explained. “It was like my wedding day, so I know on my actual wedding day, it will feel the same. He’ll be there with me.”
And as for Moore, he has one last goal he’d still like to fulfill, only this time—with his 13-year-old son.
“He really wants to go to the beach,” said Whitney. “But he especially, really wants to take my brother to the beach,” said Whitney. “They love fishing, and he wants to catch a shark.”
Good thing the family has a vacation planned in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the week of August 10.