My Brother, Our Dad

My dad didn't get to see either of his kids get married.

He died three months before Levi's wedding, and I can fully recall the kind of anger and disappointment I felt for my brother. It was hard, at times, to maintain positivity in the midst of such a tragedy... But the prayers surrounding Levi and his new wife in that season were that they would be filled with joy above all else. I think God answered that prayer and although my dad's absence was felt, it didn't take precedence. It was a day of celebration. 

When I was first engaged, my mind had set that I would walk down the aisle on my own. My best friend, on her wedding day, had walked halfway herself when her husband left his position in the front to go get her. It was a beautiful picture that she didn't have to walk alone anymore. That although her dad wasn't there, if he were... his role would be to give her away to the man who went to meet her halfway. One of our officiating pastors, Donovan Medina, reminded me of that through a conversation we had a few days before the wedding. 

But... her dad still should have been there on her wedding day. And my dad still should have been there for mine. There were a lot of days leading up to it that I really struggled with that fact. There were days of sadness and days of anger. I think I realized somewhere in that time that if I decided to walk by myself it would have been out of a place of anger. Like I was trying to prove something to myself somehow. The alternative was that my mom or my brother would walk with me and I just wanted my mom to be my mom and my brother to be my brother and my dad to be my dad and I wanted my dad. But my dad couldn't be there.

In the end I realized that asking my brother didn't mean I was replacing my dad. It meant that one of my very favorite men who I happened to share my childhood with would share in another hugely important experience with me. 


I waited until I got back to Albuquerque so I could ask Levi in person and tell him about a dream I had.

In this dream, my dad and I were sitting in a truck waiting for my wedding ceremony to start. I realized, panicked, that I had forgotten all about the rings! And we'd forgotten to write our vows! I was unprepared and was about to walk down the aisle! My dad said something about how I shouldn't worry, that everything will be just fine. In the next scene of my dream we were outside of the car. My dad took my hand and started to walk towards the rows of chairs set up in front of us, the crowd beginning to stand. He said, "Let's go get Levi. We'll all walk together." 

Donovan had asked if I had that dream before or after I'd decided to ask Levi to walk with me. It was after. I don't know what I believe about dreams and their meanings, and I didn't want to put too much pressure on it. But I did find some peace through that dream, and I couldn't help but think that maybe, in some sort of way, my dad would walk with us after all. 


There will be more on the ceremony to come, but today is my brother's birthday, so I'm just going to end today's post with him. I'm so thankful to have Levi as my big brother. I think that he has the best heart around. I just know that my dad would be so profoundly proud of him in all he does and in all of who he is. And I am too. Thank you, Levi, for being such a great brother and walking me down the aisle on my wedding day. I'm so thankful for you. 

Bree BarelaComment