A daughter shares a wedding dance with her dying father

AUBURN, CA - The veil, the dress, the makeup, the gazebo - it was all perfect.

The only thing missing was a groom.

But that's exactly how it was planned. The daddy and daughter dance was just for just for 25-year-old Rachel Wolf and her father.

Her father is Dr. James Wolf. He's losing his battle with pancreatic cancer.

Because of that, Rachel had a wild idea to have their daddy-daughter dance before it was too late. Admittedly it seemed a little strange.

Less than two weeks ago Rachel invited her father to her Auburn home and handed him an invitation to her 'wedding,' even though she isn't engaged.

"It says, 'Rachel Rose Wolf is requesting the honor of your presence at the Father and Daughter Dance.'"

James bust into tears immediately; he knows he's going to miss the big events.

"Because I'm saddened over the fact that I won't be there for the events of her life," James said through uncontrollable tears. "That's been difficult on me."

"I don't want to regret one day that I could have done it because he's here," Rachel said. "I get to have that forever and that's awesome."

Exactly 10 days after Rachel invited her father, she was in her living room, getting her hair done and stepping into a wedding gown. She was stunning, wearing a dress with more sparkles then Cinderella could imagine.

At a gazebo in an Auburn park, James waited impatiently. Dozens of friends, family members, patients and strangers were there to witness memories being made.

"It's really an honor to be in all of your lives and I'm so thankful that you came," James told the crowd while sitting, too weak to stand for long periods of time.

A few moments later, a donated limo rounded the corner carrying the eventual bride.

"I almost just want to run to him with open arms screaming daddy," she said.

The anticipation was almost too much to bear.

"My daughter is going to be walking out of the car," James said. "It's a dream. It's an absolute dream."

Then finally, the puffy white dress emerged.

Again, James couldn't hold back his tears, moving as fast as he could across the park to greet his daughter.

"Hi honey, you look gorgeous," he told her. "I've been waiting for this moment. I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for this moment."

With a convincing applause, James and Rachel made their way to a beautifully decorated gazebo that was draped in white linen.

The first notes of a song played, and James knew exactly why Rachel chose "Cindererlla" by Steven Curtis Chapman for their dance.

Chapman's lyrics tell the story of a little girl, now turned adult, who constantly wanted to dance with her father.

The two danced in front of a crowd of at least 60, but while they spun and twirled, to them not a soul was there.

While crying on her father's shoulder, Rachel said, "thank you so much daddy for coming to this." He repIied, "I'll always be with you. Remember that. I wouldn't have missed (this)."

James almost did miss that dance though. It was in the hospital that very morning needing a blood transfusion.

He isn't on chemotherapy any more. His doctors say he has another three months to live if he's lucky.

But James is not afraid of dying and he said he will not miss his girls, because he'll always be there.

To his daughters, on the other hand, "there's missing. There's lots of missing," Rachel said as she begging sobbing again and fell onto her dad's shoulder.

"I love you dad."

"I love you too sweetheart, and don't be afraid."

The dance was videotaped. Rachel plans to show during her real wedding reception. She will not watch it before then.

News10 would like to thank the many businesses that donated and helped make the dance memorable for Rachel and James.

  • Gazebo - Auburn Recreation District
  • Dress - Dreamnette Bridal
  • Tuxedo - Mad Hatters
  • DJ - Milestones DJ
  • Decorations - BP Productions
  • Photography - RMW Photo
  • Limo - Baja Limo
  • Hair - Visions Salon
  • Flowers -Bridesign
  • Makeup - Sabrina's Makeup Artistry

By Nick Monacelli, nick@news10.net


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