Katie Couric shared an emotional remembrance of her late first husband, Jay Monahan, at their daughter Ellie Monahan’s wedding earlier this month.
The former TODAY co-anchor, 64, shared the full text of her moving speech on her personal website. In it, Couric thanked the many friends and family members who supported her as she raised Monahan, 29, and her younger sister, Carrie Monahan, 25.
After sharing joyous memories for several minutes, Couric devoted a special passage near the end of her speech to Jay Monahan, who died of colon cancer in 1998 at age 42.
“I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t tell you that for many years I’d been dreading this day — because of the people who are not here,” she began before mentioning the late grandparents and other relatives of the bride and her groom, Mark Dobrosky.
“But most of all, the father of the bride, Jay Monahan. Jay would be so proud of you both and so thrilled that Ellie married a lacrosse player. And a terrific guy,” Couric said.
“When Jay was in the throes of cancer and it seemed as if the end of his life might be near, he looked at me and said, ‘You know, nothing really matters except your friends and family.‘ When everything else was stripped away, Jay understood what was essential to a meaningful life,” she continued.
“Ellie, he would be beaming to witness the woman you’ve become… and somehow, some way, I hope he is,” she added.
The veteran TV journalist, who found love again with her second husband, banker John Molner, whom she married in 2014, concluded her speech by sharing a quote from her mother, Elinor— and another from country superstar Kacey Musgraves.
“My mom used to say, ‘Into everyone’s life a little rain must fall.’ Life, in fact, is a strange alchemy of joy and sorrow, hope and despair, triumphs and disappointments.
“But in the immortal words of Carrie’s favorite, Kacey Musgraves, ‘Hold tight to your umbrella, cause darling I’m just trying to tell you that there’s always been a rainbow hanging over your head,'” she said, adding to the bride and groom, “Hold tight to your umbrella, and to each other.”
Couric wasn’t the only one to honor Monahan at the festive event. Ellie Monahan also made sure her late father was a part of her special day.
In one of Couric’s many Instagram posts chronicling the wedding, she revealed that Monahan paid tribute to her dad by walking down the aisle — by herself — to one of his favorite songs, the “Ashokan Farewell,” an American folk composition played by composer Jay Ungar and his family band.
“Jay Monahan loved that song, which was used in Ken Burn’s series on the Civil War, so it was a way to honor him,” Couric wrote.
“Yes, I cried the whole time,” she added. “Most of the people there did.”