It’s the moment that every bride looks forward to, the end of months of planning and preparation and beginning of a new life as someone’s partner. Sure, it comes with a lot of busy bells and whistles, but among all the flowers and fancy decor, there’s time honored traditions and ceremonial meaning. Nowhere is this more evident than in the moment the future Mrs. So-N-So is walked down the aisle by her father. It is meant to symbolize the shifting of priority, from parents to spouse. It is also an ancient gesture rooted in paternalism, with one adult male giving another adult male a daughter to care for, and a family to foster.
But for those whose Dad didn’t make it to that special day, there is obvious heartache. This was especially true for Jeni Stepien. Ten years ago, her father Michael was shot and killed. It was a horrible tragedy, with the only bright light being his status as an organ donor. This meant someone else could benefit from the life someone else took. Michael’s heart ended up in the body of Arthur Thomas, a 60-something senior in need of a transplant. So when Jeni decided to marry, she wanted the recipient there. They had stayed in touch over the years, but it would be the first time for her to hear her father’s heartbeat.
Walking Down The Aisle
One Last Feel Of That Heartbeat
The Newlyweds Celebrate
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