This story originally appeared at InspireMore.
Life is fleeting, but photography has a beautiful way of freezing time and helping to preserve memories forever.
Becky Carey and her fiancé had already made plans for their wedding, but after a particularly rainy summer they found it difficult to nail down an exact date. Becky’s fiancé had put down a deposit for photographer Bonnie Turner of Bonnie Turner Photography to shoot their big day, and the two women had been corresponding frequently as plans continued to shift and change.
Bonnie said she really connected with Becky from the start, but when the bride-to-be wrote her an email months after they first met she discovered there had been even more going on behind the scenes for the Woodbridge, Virginia couple.
“So I know you probably think I am the biggest photo session flake in the whole world, I’m so sorry for being all over the place with our requests changing,” Becky wrote. “Yet, I have a huge ask, to see if it is possible. I had to write this in email because I couldn’t keep it together to talk on the phone.”
Becky continued, telling Bonnie that her father Tim Carey had been fighting prostate cancer for the past four years. After this long battle it seemed things were coming to an end, and Tim was about to start hospice care. His devastated family immediately put Becky’s wedding plans on hold in favor of spending as much time with Tim as possible.
The family decided that the money they’d put down as a deposit for wedding photos would be better spent capturing their last few moments together as a nuclear family. Becky explained that they hadn’t had professional family photos taken since she and her brother were children, and since Tim would almost certainly be missing Becky’s wedding day they hoped to capture the all-important first dance while he was still able.
“Of course this is a very difficult and dark time, but I know how you feel about love and capturing it so beautifully and meaningfully,” Becky wrote. She explained that a friend of hers who is a videographer agreed to meet the family at their childhood home the following Sunday. Becky and Tim would dress in their wedding finery and have their first dance together.
“Dad is getting weaker by the day, and unfortunately, we have to do this as soon as possible. I wanted to see if you were able and willing to come and take photos at my parent’s house in Woodbridge on this really last-minute request. We are throwing this plan together really fast because we don’t know how long we have before he won’t be able to.”
Bonnie didn’t hesitate to say yes, shuffling her own calendar around so that she could be there to document this important time in their lives. The next Sunday she joined the Carey family and captured some of the most stunningly gorgeous family moments we’ve ever seen.
Becky and Tim seem trouble-free as they twirled around the lush garden. The bride-to-be is smiling up into her father’s eyes in many of the pictures, and Tim seems incredibly proud of the lovely young woman he fathered. These photos will be forever cherished by the entire family.
Bonnie said she was more than happy to change the plan and focus on what’s important right now. There will be more time in the future for Becky and her fiancé to have a fantasy wedding, but for Tim there was no more time.
“These photos are near and dear to this family and most of all, special to her. She knew he possibly wouldn’t make it to walk her down the aisle or share that father-daughter dance on her wedding day. So she took it upon herself to scratch those engagement photos for a while and share that father-daughter moment in the back yard where she grew up.”
Sadly, Tim passed away not long after the photos were taken. Bonnie has set up a GoFundMe to help with the family’s expenses, and for Becky’s future wedding portraits. “Photographs and memories are EVERYTHING when they are all you have left,” the photographer stated.
Truer words have seldom been spoken. Pictures have an incredible ability to take us back in time, preserving those memories that can often fade as the years roll by. We’re so glad that Bonnie was able to switch gears and be there to support this family during their dark times.
Please share these incredible photos to inspire others to seize life’s beautiful moments while they can.