For most little girls, it’s a dream to grow up and wear your mother’s wedding dress. Even if that doesn’t end up happening because styles change and what-not, every little girl dreams of the day when she’ll look like her mother in that long white gown.
When 27-year-old mother of three Amber Davis found out that she had a rare form of cervical cancer, she wanted to do something special for her 4-year-old daughter, Nora. The North Carolina mother knew her diagnosis was terminal, so she reached out to a close friend and photographer, Heidi Spillane, to capture some special pictures.
These weren’t just any mother-daughter photos. Nora got to wear her mommy’s wedding dress in the same place where her parents got married. “Amber saw a photo of a little girl in her mother’s wedding dress, sent it to me and said, ‘We have to do this for Nora,'” Spillane explained.
Amber passed away before the special photo shoot, but a few weeks ago her dream came true. Nora put on her mother’s lace wedding gown, had her hair styled just like her mom did on her wedding day, and got to have a special day looking like her mommy.
“She looked so innocent and wise at the same time,” Amber’s husband, Derek, wrote. “Nora has had to endure many things someone her age should not have to. Through it all she has shown her mother’s warrior spirit.”
Amber’s older sister, Adrianne Blackwelder, said the day was “natural and fun” and exactly how the mother of three would have wanted it to be.
“She was an outstanding wife and mother. That title meant more than anything to her,” says Blackwelder, who left her job as a teacher to help take care of Nora and her brothers, Reid and Noah. “She just wanted me to make sure her kids always knew how much she loved them.”
Davis was diagnosed with neuroendocrine carcinoma cervical cancer in February 2014 and battled through radiation, chemotherapy and ultimately brain surgery. On July 28, 2015, the mother of three passed away at the age of 27.
“In true Amber form, even when she was going through treatment, she was always more worried about the kids than herself,” said Blackwelder, who added that Nora, who will turn five this month, talks about her mother every day. “Her kids are doing well. They’re adjusting OK and it’s because Amber promised them everything would be OK.”