Dad died six weeks before my wedding… how could I celebrate without him?
byJun 16, 2014
The ivory face of the gold watch stared up at me from my dresser. A vintage Omega Seamaster, the bracelet scratched and crystal scuffed with age. My grandparents had given it to Dad back in the sixties, before he joined the Navy.
I'd never seen him without it on his wrist, until the day the mainspring seized up and it stopped ticking. He never got around to repairing it. I wished he could see me wearing it tomorrow on my wedding day. But like the watch, he’d run out of time.
Buttoning up my shirt sleeves for the rehearsal dinner, I thought of the last real conversation I’d had with him. Bedridden at the hospital, near the end of his battle with pancreatic cancer, all Dad could talk about was the wedding.
He couldn’t wait to dress up; it’d be his first time wearing a tuxedo. “I’ll be there when you get married,” he said. “Some way, somehow. I promise.”
“Can’t wait, Dad,” I said, playing along. But he was too weak to even lift a spoon to his lips. Machines and tubes were keeping him alive. I knew he couldn’t keep his promise, as badly as he wanted to. He passed away not long after, six weeks before the wedding.
I sighed and picked up Dad’s watch from the dresser, slid it onto my left wrist and snapped the clasp closed. Mom had given it to me yesterday, and I’d attempted to shake it awake. “I know it doesn’t work,” she told me, her voice breaking. “But wear it this weekend. Dad can be with us in spirit.”
I took one last look in the mirror, straightening the collar on my shirt. Was it time to go?
Out of habit, I glanced down at the watch. The second hand… it was sweeping around the clock. How was it possible? I stood still for a minute, stunned, sure that it would stop again.
It kept on ticking. All through the rehearsal dinner. Throughout the photos the next day. As I took my vows, danced with my bride, cut the cake. Up until Monday morning, when the second hand finally slowed and stopped. I wound it, but it didn’t start back up again.
I’m not sure I want to get it fixed. Any watch can tell time. This one gave me a little more time with Dad.