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Father with dementia walks daughter down the aisle

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Posted at 10:16 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 11:04:18-04

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — For Kay Eskridge, visiting her dad and enjoying the intimate moments inside Amber Creek Inn Memory Care means the world these days.

“I live in fear all the time that it’s going to be the last time, or it will be the last hug, or the last 'I love you,' or the last wave goodbye,” said Eskridge.

At 89, Jim lives with dementia, a disease that may be slowly stealing his mind but not his heart.

“I don’t want to live with regret, so I tend to go over the top,” said Eskridge, with a laugh.

In October of last year, she and her longtime boyfriend paid a visit to Jim, where an off-the-cuff conversation turned into a loving mission.

“Howard said something to my dad about, 'hey what would you think if I ask your daughter to marry me,' and my dad looks at him and goes 'let's do this,' and all of a sudden, we looked at each other and said, 'let’s do this,'” said Eskridge.

Unfortunately, due to his physical limitations and the current COVID-19 pandemic, Eskridge knew there were few options to have her father at the wedding. That’s when they turned to Amber Creek Inn’s staff for help.

“It’s special, it’s heartwarming, it’s what we do this for,” said Director of Community Relations Ron Waldo. "Our job is to make sure our residents and their families can experience these amazing moments together and we'll do anything we can to make sure it happens."

Waldo quickly went to work to secure a private room at the facility that could accommodate the special request, which included asking him to officiate the wedding.

“When she asked me to do this, I was flattered but there was also a certain responsibility in making sure I nailed it for her,” said Waldo.

“In one week's time, I got a dress, got flowers, got a cake,” said Eskridge.

All of it to make sure a particular moment could take place — a father, walking his daughter down the aisle, handing her off to a man who would become her husband.

“When he walked me down the aisle when I was married before at 21, I leaned on him. This time, he leaned on me,” said Eskridge, through tears.

A father-daughter dance would help cap off the perfect day. While Jim may have trouble continuing to recall it down the road, for Eskridge, it’s something she’ll take with her forever, reminding him every chance she gets.

“I mean it was like a girl's dream, and I experienced it,” said Eskridge. “Thank you to Amber Creek for making it happen.”