Weddings never go according to plan, do they? I remember all too well the various hitches and bumps accompanied my own nuptials.
I landed in the hospital with acute food poisoning right beforehand. My wife-to-be was hours late to the wedding rehearsal.
A family member got a little overly enthusiastic during the reception after a few trips to the bar. But even with those hiccups, the wedding still went on.
Sadly, tragically, the same couldn’t be said for Jessica Padgett of Daviess County, Indiana.
It wasn’t that she didn’t have the ceremony planned to a T.
According to WXIN, she and her fiancé, Kendall Murphy, had decided to marry on Sept. 29 of this year. Yet tragedy would rob her of the opportunity.
See, Murphy served as a volunteer firefighter. On Nov. 10, 2017, he was dispatched to a rural highway. A crash had occurred and caused an injury.
WXIN reported that three firefighters quickly arrived on the scene. One of them was Murphy.
But when a fourth firefighter named 26-year-old Colby Blake sped up to the site of the accident, he plowed into another truck. Blake had allegedly been drinking, and the crash ended up killing Murphy.
The young firefighter’s death broke the heart not only of Padgett, but also of the community at large. So as the date of what was supposed to be his wedding drew near, Murphy’s mother decided that everyone needed a chance to publicly grieve.
Katrina Murphy hired a photographer named Mandi Knepp and asked Padgett to participate in a wedding shoot. The resulting pictures tread the line between happy and heartbreaking.
In some of the snaps, a giant wedding party beams, everyone alight with smiles. Others show Padgett going through all of the traditional bustling preparations of a soon-to-be bride.
But unlike most wedding photography where people seem anticipatory or excited, a thread of melancholy weaves its way through. Padget clasps the arm of the woman who was to be her mother-in-law while fighting back tears.
Another picture finds her clad in a flowing wedding dress while folded over her fiance’s headstone. Others show her posed with Murphy’s firefighting paraphernalia.
The wedding shoot wasn’t the only honor that Murphy received. WBIW reported that he was honored at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service on Friday.
It celebrated the lives of some 80 firefighters who paid the ultimate price in the line of duty in 2017. The ceremony also involved lighting various buildings at night in order to remember the fallen.
Still, it’s hard to think of a more poignant tribute than the one Padgett provided. Its poignancy rips at the heart and reminds us of ultimate price so many of our first responders have paid.
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