The dad put a ring on her pointer finger, and then the pastor, Gary Galbraith, pronounced them “daddy and daughter.”
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on March 11, 2022. It has since been updated.
Cancer robs people of the time they wish to spend with their loved ones.
A Murrieta man with terminal pancreatic cancer knew he wouldn't be around to watch his youngest daughter grow up and bloom into a beautiful woman. Jim Metz, 62, knew she would be okay, but he was trying his best to come to terms with the fact that he wouldn't see his 11-year-old daughter hit her milestones, growing up.
But, thanks to a photographer with a vision, he was able to fulfil one of his wishes, in 2014, according to KTLA.
So, in a small backyard wedding ceremony conceptualized by photographer Lindsey Natzic Villatoro and her friends, Josie clutched her father’s arm and walked toward a ceremony she will surely never forget.
You see, Villatoro was no stranger to the family. She had photographed Jim, Josie and Josie’s mother Grace for one of their final family portraits together, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Villatoro, who wanted to create a memory that would last a lifetime for both the father and the daughter, decided to contact other people who could help her create her vision. “One day (you) wake up and realize you’re given the opportunity to change someone’s life for the better. You get an idea, don’t think twice and run with it,” Villatoro wrote in a description of a video slideshow she made from the event.
Grace, who had no idea that Villatoro’s plans would go viral, agreed to a create a “mini-wedding” for Josie. “She mentioned (Josie) was so emotional about her dad not being there for memories down the line, so I figured we would make some now,” Villatoro wrote.
With the help of Villatoro’s friends, Josie got her makeup and hair done. She even wore a long, lacy white dress and carried a pink-and-white bouquet. Then, as she held on to her ailing father's hand, Josie walked down the “aisle” in the family backyard.
“Your dad may not get to see you get married, but he is here to walk you down the aisle today,” said Gary Galbraith, the pastor. He put a ring on her pointer finger, and then Galbraith pronounced them “daddy and daughter.”
They walked out to share a quiet, tearful moment, before returning to a “reception” with family and friends. In one of Villatoro’s photographs of the father and daughter sitting together, a lone tear drops down Jim’s cheek.
“Down the road, this will mean a lot to her,” Jim Zetz said. “She will always remember it.” Villatoro wrote that it was an “an honor” to surprise the Zetzes.
“Josie, you will forever have a video of you and your dad walking you down the aisle to play at your wedding in years to come, as if he was physically there,” she wrote.
Cover Image Source: YouTube | ABC 10 News (Terminally ill man walks his 11-year-old daughter down the aisle)