Every mom dreams of one day seeing her daughter walk down the aisle. But tragically, not every mom will get to see that dream come true.
When Amber Davis, of North Carolina, realized she might not make it to her 4-year-old daughter’s future wedding day, she came up with a solution as beautiful as it is heartbreaking.
Like the dad who recreated photos of his late wife with their young daughter, Davis hoped to redo all her own wedding photos with her little daughter Nora standing in her place.
Davis passed away at just 27, before she could see her daughter take center stage in those photos.
But after she died, Davis’ husband and her friend, photographer Heidi Spillane, worked together to make her dying wish come true.
With Nora’s help, they staged the photo shoot Davis always wanted, creating the perfect way to honor her memory.
Scroll through below to see the incredible photos of little Nora posing in her mama’s gorgeous wedding dress.
When Amber Davis realized she might not have much longer, she made her friend Heidi Spillane promise her something: No matter what happened, Spillane would complete a photo shoot the two women had been discussing for a while.
Spillane photographed Davis’ wedding years ago through her studio My Three Arrows Photography, and Davis was hoping she would recreate some of the photos from that special day, but with a different Davis in the wedding gown — 4-year-old daughter Nora.
Davis, mom to Nora and her two brothers Reid and Noah, was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer in 2014.
She immediately started treatment, losing her hair to chemo and going through a number of hospital stays. She passed away in July of the following year, just a week after her 27th birthday.
Maybe Davis sensed from the very beginning of her cancer journey that her time was almost up.
The young mom decided to give her only daughter a precious gift.
She wanted Nora to have a way to remember her mom as she grows up and reaches the milestones that moms are usually a big part of.
Before she passed away, Spillane and Davis collaborated on a big family photo shoot.
Davis posed for pictures with her husband and her three adorable kiddos. Here they are reading the Dr. Seuss classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go! in the kids’ room.
When Davis was diagnosed, her youngest, Reid, was just 1 year old, little Nora was 2, and big brother Noah was 6.
According to Spillane, Davis’ sense of urgency was growing toward the end.
“Honestly at the time she asked me to do the photo shoot, I envisioned all of us together at this session with Nora,” Spillane explained to Daily Mail. “It wasn’t until a few months later, as we were talking and planning and she asked me to promise that I would do this for her and for Nora that it hit me — she was purposely planning ahead for her precious baby girl.”
Spillane began discussing the idea with Amber’s husband, Derek Davis, and they found themselves planning a shoot that would fulfill Amber’s dying wish.
They brought Nora to the same venue where the Davises married, and recreated all Mom’s beautiful photos, from the shots of her posing in the garden to the poses by the window.
Most poignantly, they recreated the wedding photo of Derek sweeping his bride off her feet, reinterpreting it as Dad cradling his little girl.
For Nora, still too little to understand everything that’s happened in the past couple of years, it was a day to be pampered and feel like a princess in her mom’s beautiful clothes.
Her aunt Adrianne helped her put on makeup, and she got to pose in a beautiful gown. But when she grows up, Nora will cherish these photos as so much more than a simple game of dress-up.
Spillane noted that with every pose and smile, she caught glimpses of her friend Amber in her young daughter.
“I started looking through [the photos]. I was laughing, smiling, and crying, being able to see Amber so clearly in her gorgeous daughter,” Spillane said.
And anyone can see that Amber is there, as a part of her daughter.
Most important of all is that Nora will always know that her mother is with her in spirit, even if she had to leave the world sooner than she planned.
Someday, when Nora graduates or gets married or realizes that she’s going to have a child of her own, she’ll be able to look back on these pictures and know that her mom is always going to be a part of her daughter’s future.
If you think Amber Davis’ gift to her daughter is as beautiful as little Nora, make sure to SHARE her incredible legacy with every mom you know.