Becky Carey kept telling herself that her terminally ill dad was going to live long enough to walk her down the aisle, cancer be damned.
Her father had been fighting prostate and pancreatic cancer for four years. In her eyes, he was invincible — an Air Force colonel who flew 240 combat missions in Vietnam and passed his love of flying on to his daughter.
Tim Carey had always been Becky's wing man, and it was her cherished hope he would reprise that duty at her upcoming nuptials.
But that was not to be.
His body was giving out, though his spirit was strong. His family made the gut-wrenching decision to call in hospice care. The clock was ticking much faster than Becky and her family desired.
So she came up with a plan — an insurance policy of sorts. She would trade her engagement photo shoot for a photo session with her father. They would gather in the family's backyard, creating their own father-daughter wedding reception dance.
In September, he managed to pull on his Air Force dress uniform. She did her hair and make up and slipped into her wedding dress. And they danced to her father's favorite song, "Unchained Melody."
"I had been in chosen denial about how sick he was," Becky told InsideEdition.com. As she danced with her 70-year-old dad, she whispered in his ear, "This is just practice and just for fun."
"We were able to talk and laugh," she said. They even twirled and boogied.
But her dad broke down about halfway through the Righteous Brothers' legendary hit. "He started crying, so of course I started crying," she said, wiping away new tears. "It was sad," she said. "But it was also beautiful."
A videographer captured the day, and her wedding photographer Bonnie Turner took images. After posting her work on social media, Turner's photographs of a beaming Becky and her gaunt, but smiling father, have gone viral.
"He wanted to make it" to his daughter's wedding this fall, but his body gave out on March 28. The hospice folks had delivered a hospital bed to the family home, "but he didn't want to go there because he didn't want to go yet," Becky said.
So his family tucked him into his own bed. "We found him at 7:30 in the morning," she said. He had died in his sleep and was in the exact position he had fallen asleep in, she said. "He didn't move," she said. "I think it was very peaceful." Or at least she hopes so, she added.
Becky, who is an elementary school teacher, looks forward to her wedding. At her reception, the video of her last dance with her dad will play in place of the traditional father-daughter moment.
She has made a note to herself to buy waterproof mascara. She knows there will be tears.
"I'm just afraid I'm going to crying all the time," she said.