JESSICA Padgett was meant to marry the love of her live on September 29.
Instead the grieving bride wore her wedding dress to visit her fiance’s grave on the day they were meant to exchange vows.
Ten months earlier Kendall James Murphy, a US volunteer firefighter, was killed by an alleged drunk driver while rushing to helping a car crash victim in Daviess County, Indiana.
As he opened the passenger door of his car to retrieve some protective gear he was struck by another car. Mr Murphy died immediately.
The driver, who was charged over the incident, was a volunteer firefighter from another department who was responding to the same crash. Alcohol, speed, mobile phone use and driver distraction were cited in a law enforcement report as factors in the crash.
According to CBS4, his grieving mother contacted photographer Mandi Knepp to ask if she would photograph his bride-to-be Jessica Padgett on their wedding day.
She hoped it would help Ms Padgett in her healing process.
Ms Padgett told Global News the two hour photoshoot was an “emotional rollercoaster”. It was taken in Glendale, Indiana — where the couple had their engagement photoshoot.
She said the couple’s bridal party and groomsmen were standing in place when she arrived.
“It was very emotional, I had to break for a second because I was crying so much from that,” she said.
Ms Knepp told CBS4 she would’ve done anything to help the grieving family.
The photographer — Loving Life Photography — took photos of Ms Padgett as she tearfully put on the wedding dress and did her makeup. She then posed with cherished memories of her fiance — his firefighter uniform, helmet and boots and sunflowers — which they had planned to use on the day.
Ms Knepp shared the photos on Facebook with the caption: “It’s hard when you miss someone. But, you know, if you miss them you were BLESSED. It means you had someone special in your life, someone worth missing.”
In some of the photos Mr Murphy had been photoshopped into the background.
“She made broken look so beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings,” Ms Knepp wrote.
The photoshoot ended at the site where Mr Murphy was buried.
“I’ve been dreading this day for a really long time,” Ms Padgett said.
“I wanted to be where he was at.”
The photoshoot has helped to bring Ms Padgett and Mr Murphy’s family some closure.
She said she has been contacted by people who saw the photos, who have said they have helped them through their own grief.
“In the end, I’m glad I did it though, because now I can look back at those memories that Mandi took, and the ways I got to honour Kendall and be with Kendall and see all the support I had that day,” she told Global News Canada.
Mr Murphy was one of five Indiana firefighters who were honoured at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service in Washington DC.
The Montgomery Fire Station, which he worked for, and St. Peter Catholic Church helped to ‘paint the town red’ to honour him.
View more of the photoshoot at Loving Life Photography.