“Bride Remembers Late Daughter in Stunning Wedding Photo” originally appeared on Yahoo Parenting and was reprinted with permission.
A bride got one last photograph with her late daughter in a heartbreaking viral image from her recent wedding day.
Amanda Crowe Freebird’s daughter, Azalee, died at 6 years old of neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer, in 2013. On Sunday, Freebird married her new husband, Chip, in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, wedding ceremony that she says was missing only one thing. “The thought of taking my wedding pictures without [Azalee] hurt my heart so bad,” she told Yahoo 7 News in Australia. So Freebird asked her friend and wedding photographer Ashley Frantz if she could incorporate Azalee into some of the photos.
“She’s a dear friend to me and so when she asked, I knew I had to figure how to make it happen,” Frantz told Yahoo 7 News. “I wanted to create the photo for her because I’m a mom myself and I can’t imagine life without my daughter.”
The resulting photograph shows Freebird in her wedding dress, kneeling next to her daughter’s ghost-like image, holding the young girl’s cheeks. Since Frantz posted it on Facebook on December 13, the photo has gotten more than 86,500 likes and more than 9,800 shares. “Finally get to share one of the most beautiful and difficult pictures I’ve ever been asked to do,” Frantz wrote in the photo caption. “This is my wonderful friend Amanda during her bridals. She wanted so badly for her precious Azalee to be there with us … She went to heaven before her mommy met the most wonderful man named Chip. Heartbroken that her girl wouldn’t be here to experience this new journey with her, Amanda asked me to please incorporate Azalee into the pics somehow. This is what I came up with and I couldn’t be more pleased. It was such an honor to be able to do this for her and I’m so thankful God has given me a talent that I can use to make broken hearts just a tad less broken.”
Freebird told Yahoo 7 News that she was thrilled with her photographer friend’s work. “You can’t put a price tag on the happiness she has brought to my broken heart,” Freebird said. “Azalee was my best friend, and the love we shared was so special and Ashley knows that and she put her heart into creating a beautiful memory for me.”
In an update written Wednesday on her Facebook page, Frantz wrote that this kind of work is why she is a photographer in the first place. “It wasn’t a ‘money shot’ or done for any other reason than to help Amanda Crowe Freebird feel precious Azalee near on her special day. It wasn’t meant for perfection only restoration,” she wrote. “My heart is to change the world, one picture at a time.”
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