Before she passed away from a rare type of cervical cancer last year, Amber made it her dying wish to have her 4-year-old daughter Nora take photos while wearing her wedding dress in the same location where she’d once tied the knot with husband Derek.
This dream came true last week when Nora wore Amber’s special lace gown—in addition to her mom’s diamond earrings and wedding band—and took photos by herself and with Derek at The Hitching Post in Statesville, North Carolina.
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“Nora is the spitting image of her mother and looked just like her during the shoot,” Heidi Spillane, Amber’s close friend and My Three Arrows photographer, tells People. “It wasn’t sad, but it was a beautiful moment where Amber was living on through her daughter.”
Amber had been diagnosed with neuroendocrine carcinoma cervical cancer in February 2014 and subsequently underwent radiation and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the cancer metastasized and spread to Amber’s brain. The mother of three died at the age of 27 about six months after brain surgery—but not before telling Heidi about the photo shoot idea.
“She saw it as a way for Nora to remember her Mama once she passed away. She wanted me to promise I would do it when she was gone,” Heidi added. “She was so proud of Nora, just how beautiful and brave and amazing she was while her mom fought cancer.”
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Heidi said Nora was a “natural” during the photo shoot and that “you could tell she just felt so connected to her mom in that moment.”
Clearly, there’s nothing that can keep this mother-daughter duo apart—not even death itself.