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Grab the Tissues: Father Recreates Wedding Photos with Daughter, Two Years After Losing Wife to Cancer

As the mother of two (soon-to-be three) children, I have two great fears in life. Fears I am certain every mama on the planet worries over in the dark of night when sleep eludes her: that something will happen to one of my children, or something will happen to me that will cause me to leave them too soon.

If something did happen to me I know my babies would be in good hands. They have an amazing dad. I couldn’t have chosen a better person to be the father of my children. Truly. I can say that without reservation. He is one-of-a-kind and enriches their lives in ways that wouldn’t occur to me. If I am the coloring book: the black and white lines that guide them in the right direction, he is the color. The reds, blues, purples, greens and yellows that brighten their days and lets their imaginations run wild.

If something were to happen to me I know Serge would focus on celebrating my life with our children instead of mourning the loss. Yes, the loss is sad but there is nothing to be done after someone dies other than keep them in your heart every day by remembering how they lived.

That’s exactly what Ben Nunery did in a stunning set of photos of him and his 3-year-old daughter Olivia. Ben’s wife and Olivia’s mama Ali died two years ago from a rare form of lung cancer. Recently, Ben decided to move from the home he and Ali moved into the day before their wedding so that Olivia could have a bigger house and yard in which to play. Ben asked Ali’s sister, photographer Melanie Pace, to shoot some final photos of them in the house they love so much. Melanie is the same one who shot the couple’s wedding photos five years earlier, as she notes on her blog:

He asked me to take pictures of him and Olivia in their empty house just like we did on the day he married Ali, 4.5yrs ago. That’s right, the time has come for Olivia to have a yard to play in, a bigger house where her toys can have a dedicated place of their own and home in a good school district. On Friday Ben handed over the keys and drove away from the house that holds so many unforgettable memories. The place where you can literally feel my sister’s presence the second you step in the door. Heck, she poured herself into making that place their home and every inch of it was perfection, who am I kidding?

Ben also wrote about the photo shoot and had this to say: “Many people have asked me how I felt while doing that photo session. What I want them to know is that this isn’t a story about grief and loss and hurt. Yes, I’ve gone through those emotions and still do but that’s not what I want people to see in these photos. This is a story about love.”

What developed during the photo shoot will leave you in tears.

All photos courtesy of Adam and Melanie Pace / Loft3 Photography

  • A Story About Love 1 of 10
    dad

    Heartbreaking and beautiful.

  • Happiness 2 of 10
    dad1

    You're already tearing up, aren't you?

  • Like Mother, Like Daughter 3 of 10
    dad3

    Ali gets ready on her wedding day and, as Aunt Melanie notes on her blog, "Another moment while Ben was moving around stuff. O found Mommy's curling iron in the hallway..."

  • Stolen Moments 4 of 10
    dad6

    Can't. Stop. Crying.

  • Sharing Smiles 5 of 10
    dad7

    I'm ruined for the day. Ruined, I tell you!

  • Teaching Olivia Her Mama’s Wedding Song 6 of 10
    ben

    As Melanie writes on her blog, "Ben's friend gifted him this ukulele, then taught him how to play the song him and Ali danced to on their wedding. Stevie Wonder's "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)" One night in the hospital Ben used his skills to serenade Ali.)

  • My Turn! 7 of 10
    ben1

    Olivia wants a try.

  • Angel Mommy 8 of 10
    ben2

    According to Aunt Melanie, "This angel sits in Olivia's room and she calls her "Mommy." They talk to her and play with her every day."

  • Dance Like Mommy Is Watching 9 of 10
    olivia

    From Melanie's photography blog: One of the things that hurts the most, is when I watch Olivia do things that Ali fantasized about before becoming a mom. She would talk about taking her future daughters to ballet and watching them spin till they giggled and fell down. Which is pretty much what happened here. It's so hard to let go of the anger I constantly face because she's missing these things. But I know she's with her still watching and likely whispering in O's ear, "Olivia, don't forget to spot! Oliviaaa! You're going to fall! You're spinning too fast! Oliiiviaaa!"

  • Special Bond 10 of 10
    dad9

    Ali will live on forever in her daughter...

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