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Dying dad leaves daughter’s wedding to rest then returns to make good on dance vow

Mary grew up dancing with her father and there was nothing in the world that was going to stop him from dancing with his daughter on her big day.

“Me and my dad have always danced together.” – Mary Bourne Roberts

When she was little, Mary would dance around the kitchen with her father Jim to the hit song, “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack.

The song talks about taking chances and never giving up. More importantly, it reminds people that you can ‘sit it out or dance.’

The words to the song meant a lot to Mary and her father and they made a promise that they would play it at her wedding one day during the father-daughter dance.

Mary went on to pursue a career in dance after attending the University of Alabama.

Mary majored in dance and ended up receiving a job at a dance academy.

There was so much to look forward to including an upcoming wedding to her fiance, James.

When news came that her father had been diagnosed with glioblastoma, an incurable brain cancer, Mary moved closer to home so she could be there for him.

When the wedding date finally arrived, Jim had just entered Hospice care.

No one knew if he would be able to make it to the wedding at all.

The happy couple moved up their wedding date so Mary’s father could be present.

“We were ready to get married but especially with that looming we thought we shouldn’t waste our time.” – Mary told Ellen

Not wanting to disappoint his daughter, Jim made good on his promise.

He appeared at her wedding in a wheelchair and held her hand while they danced to their song “I Hope You Dance,” the same song they danced to when she was little.

Mary held her father’s hand while she wheeled him around the dancefloor and leaned down to kiss his cheek several times.

The dance was recorded by their photographer as teary-eyed guests looked on.

Sadly, Jim passed away less than two weeks after Mary’s wedding.

The memory of her father being able to attend her wedding and dance to their favorite song will no doubt stay with Mary for many years to come.

Mary and James were invited to appear on The Ellen Show after the video of the father-daughter dance went viral.

“We didn’t even hire a videographer, my photographer just switched to the video mode and she uploaded it I think when we were on our honeymoon…we came home and were like, ‘what happened!’” – Mary told Ellen.

At that time the video had 12,000 views and the couple was shocked. Today, their story has been shared millions of times.

When Ellen asked James how he was able to handle the emotional father-daughter dance he said it wasn’t easy.

“I am very emotional all the time and I knew during the wedding…I was trying to show her that I was ok because I didn’t want to start a downhill spiral.

Well, I did a really good job all the way until that dance started and I literally couldn’t see anybody but them two and to this day its the most happy, beautiful memory.” – James told Ellen

Mary and Jim’s dance continues to inspire people today.

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