-- The dress was perfect, the flowers were in place and the string quartet all set up to ease the beautiful bride down the aisle.
But most important to newlywed Cathryn Copeland on her magical wedding day was the fact her mother was there.
Copeland’s mom, Janet, was battling a fight with breast cancer. Originally diagnosed 11 years ago, she had since gone into remission—but bad news came in October 2013 when the family learned it was not only back, but as of October 2014, it had spread, allowing her very little more time.
The wedding was originally scheduled for November 1 in Scottsdale, Arizona, however Copeland and her now husband, Conner Wood, didn’t want to take any chances.
“We said, ‘Mom, what do you want to do with this wedding?,’” Copeland recalled of the emotional conversation. “She just broke down and said, ‘I want to see this wedding.’”
That’s all it took. Copeland made the decision to move up her wedding to October 22, a Wednesday, at her mother’s cancer treatment center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston.
“The hospital was very accommodating and it’s just a beautiful campus that they have,” she explained. “I’ve been going with my mom to some of her treatments and we would do fast walks around the campus. She was always very physically fit. So I already knew all the beautiful spots where we could hold the ceremony.”
The bride says she was able to pull off the magical wedding a week and a half early, despite changing states, dates and timing, all because of the “selfless, loving people,” willing to help make it happen.
“I just had an incredible group of people surrounding me,” said Copeland. “My dress was custom made for me and we became friends with her so she rushed my dress and she made my mom’s dress, too. She looked so beautiful.”
The wedding ceremony took place at 12:30pm, which gave Copeland and her mom all morning to relish in their girl time—being pampered with their hair and makeup in Janet’s hospital room.
“She had an unshakable faith and that gave me so much strength,” the bride explained. “I got to see mom have a lot of prayers answered before she went home and that was a pure joy.”
Janet Copeland died two weeks after seeing her daughter wed, but the memories they shared that day will last a lifetime.
“On the day I was just so happy, filled with happiness, the happiest day of my life,” said Copeland. “The wedding answered that wish of hers to be able to be there, and to do something small for her was great.”
And despite the unfortunate circumstances, “We had a blast and it was the perfect day, she added. “It was different than we planned, but it was infinitely more special. Now that she’s gone I have all the gorgeous photos sharing that day with her, and I have the video. To see her talking to me is just the biggest blessing.”