This is the moment a dying grandma saw her granddaughter as a bride when she surprised her with a visit knowing she wouldn’t survive to see her wedding.
Bethany Boykin, 25, donned her wedding dress for Dot ‘Honey’ Beaman, 87, when she realised that she would not live to see her wedding day in November.
She called on close friend and photographer Taylor Dail, 27, who ‘”immediately dropped everything” to arrange the shoot.
The emotional photos show the moment the great-grandmother opens her eyes while lying in her bed to see her stunning granddaughter in front of her.
Taylor said “there was not a dry eye in the room” on the day of the shoot – and Honey died eight days after the photos were taken, months before the actual wedding.
She was Bethany’s last surviving grandparent, and always held a hope that she would be a part of her special day.
Office clerk Bethany from Wilson, North Carolina, said: “My mum went into her room first and said ‘Bethany’s here to see you,” Bethany recalled.
“Then I went in and said ‘Hey Honey, what d’you think?’
“She opened her eyes and that was her reaction in the picture.
“Her first words were ‘oh, it’s beautiful!’ and just kept saying over and over how beautiful it was!
“She wanted to see every detail on that dress, like the hemline where it was altered.
“She was still in her right mind and she knew who I was and what I was doing, she just wasn’t her normal self.
“She couldn’t speak as loudly and it took her longer to get things out.
“I always held on to the fact I would at least have her at my wedding even if my grandfather wasn’t.
“Even when I kind of knew that she wasn’t going to be at my wedding I still held on to the hope deep down inside that she would make it, but I knew on the outside that it wasn’t realistic.
“So I made the shoot OUR moment, and that was more than enough for me.”
Bethany and now-husband Blake Boykin, 26, were planning their wedding when Honey suffered a minor stroke on July 7.
“We took her to the hospital who eventually sent her back home, but she still wasn’t very alert,” Bethany said.
“The doctors said they didn’t foresee her living much longer, and might have to go into a hospice for her end-of-life care.
“They didn’t give an estimated time at the beginning, it could have been from a week to six months, but the nurse was honest with us and said we probably had a few weeks with her.”
Realising her grandmother likely wouldn’t survive to see her November wedding day, Bethany decided to visit her in her dress to share a special moment.
She picked up her dress from the seamstress, got her sister-in-law to do her hair and make up, and enlisted Taylor for the shoot, on July 14.
They visited Honey at home where she was being cared for by nurses.
Photographer Taylor said: “It was surreal to capture such a special moment like that.
“As a photographer I see a lot of different and very unique moments, but this one was by far the best moment I have ever captured.
“Just being able to see Honey open her eyes to Bethany was so amazing – I really have no words for it.
“Everyone in the room was laughing and crying; happy tears of course!
“It was such a sweet and memorable moment that I’m so glad I got to capture.
“That day Honey had been more awake and alive than she ever had been since she became sick.”
Honey passed away on July 22, eight days after the photos were taken.
Bethany said they had a very close relationship, and they would see each other multiple times a week.
Bethany married husband Blake on November 14 in Nashville, North Carolina, but still felt the presence of her grandmother.
She said: “As I was talking to a co-worker and her daughter after the wedding about how much I wish she could’ve been there, they told me that they saw a duck at the beginning of the ceremony that came up really close, and near the end of the wedding it swam away never to be seen again.
“We all three thought the same thing – that the duck was my grandmother giving us a little sign that she was there.”