A wedding in Costa Rica turned into an unthinkable tragedy on Saturday when the bride’s father, Tim Buchanan, succumbed to a fatal heart attack just moments after dancing with his daughter.
Tim, 54, was a respected detective with the York County Sheriff’s Department in Rock Hill, S.C. He and his wife, Jeni, were attending the nuptials of Michelle Howard, one of the couple’s four children, to Luis Diego Granera, when he suddenly passed, according to People.
In a post on Facebook, Jeni Buchanan shared a heartbreaking eulogy for her beloved husband of 20 years. “You never know when the last time will be the last time!” wrote Jeni, a wedding photographer. “Tim came into my life at a time when I was broken to the core and held me up and built me into a strong person. … He was the most beautiful soul I have ever known and I will never be the same without him. I know he loved me and our family.”
Accompanying the message is a photo of Jeni and Tim that was candidly snapped at their daughter’s island nuptials. “I am so very grateful for this image of us that our dear friends … snuck during our daughter’s wedding yesterday. Little did I know just a few hours later we would lose him,” the grieving wife wrote. She added that she was still in Costa Rica as of Monday, and would not be taking phone calls.
“I just can’t deal with much right now,” Jeni shared. “Once we have plans settled, someone will update or announce them. For now, just pray. He was always the one to make us feel better when things went wrong and so we need all the prayers we can get.” The comments section was flooded with condolences from friends and family.
One family friend, Jenn Lewis, set up a GoFundMe page on behalf of the Buchanan family to “deal with arrangements and expenses that she wasn’t at all prepared for.” Lewis wrote that “Jeni and Tim were so excited to head to Costa Rica a few days ago to see their daughter, who lives there, marry the man of her dreams yesterday. Many of you know that Jeni is a wedding photographer, and understandably, she will need some time away from that after such a tragic event at her own daughter’s wedding, so any financial help would be greatly appreciated,” Lewis said, adding that prayers were also appreciated. As of this article’s publication, the family is about $5,000 short of its $20,000 goal.
In happier times, and as recently as June, Jeni posted giddy tributes to her beloved husband on Facebook. In one particularly endearing post, the couple is making silly faces for the camera, and Jeni writes, “This man is my hunk of love that I wouldn’t trade a gazillion dollars for. He is my heart and soul and is always my hero. … I am completely smitten by love and want to capture it from sun up to sun down.”
Jeni’s Facebook profile photo shows her in a wedding dress, in a loving embrace with Tim; the Eiffel Tower can be seen behind them. One commenter confirmed the photo was taken during the couple’s vow renewals in Paris in 2014. “This man is all mine and I love him Bigger Than The Sky!” Jeni captioned the sweet image.
According to People, Tim’s colleague Sheriff Bruce Bryant said, “All of our hearts are saddened about the loss of this great law enforcement officer. Tim dedicated almost 19 years to this profession as an outstanding deputy, forensics investigator and most recently detective in computer crimes. His talents will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family in this difficult time.”