A photograph has gone viral of the bittersweet moment a bride was married in her hospital bed, just 18 hours before she passed away.
The image of Heather Lindsay was taken on Dec. 23 at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, by a bridesmaid and shows her raising her hands in triumph in a full wedding dress.
Lindsay had been diagnosed with breast cancer exactly one year earlier, just as her then-boyfriend, David Mosher, was planning to propose to her, according to WFSB.
“I left the plans as they were. I proposed to her,” Mosher told InsideEdition.
“We had the toughest year of our life. She struggled with her cancer through the traditional chemotherapy.”
The couple met in May 2015 at a swing dance class. After that, they were inseparable, according to Mosher.
Mosher had already planned a romantic proposal when Lindsay told him she had been diagnosed with cancer and said he was determined to go ahead. “I said to myself, she needs to know she’s not going to go down this road alone,” Mosher told WFSB.
“A pair of draft horses, a carriage, and I arranged it all for that night. We went out on the carriage ride and I proposed to her under a street light,” Mosher said.
But just five days later, the doctors told Lindsay that the diagnosis was triple negative, one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.
Then, in September 2017, came even more bad news—they learned the cancer had spread.
“We found out it was in her brain and a couple months later, she was on life support with a breathing tube,” Mosher said.
They realized that if they were to fulfill their dream of getting married, it would have to be soon, and in the hospital.
Despite many experts saying she would not make it through October, Lindsay kept going.
“She was tough. Anyone else would have given up a long time ago,” Mosher said. “The doctors even said we don’t know how she’s still here.”
Lindsay’s friend and bridesmaid, Christina Karas, said that her biggest fear was not living to enjoy Mosher, who just came into her life.
Karas told NBC how they arranged the wedding in the hospital’s chapel.
“[We thought] we should just lay the dress on top of her because the energy we thought it would take to get her in would kill her,” Karas told NBC
In the end, however, they were able to help Lindsay into her gown and then into the chapel where she met Mosher to exchange vows.
Standing in front of everyone in the chapel, I was hesitant to pull out my camera. As someone who wanted nothing more than to see my friend truly happy, I felt I had to capture these images, which by this point I knew were her final moments with us. What you clearly see here is two people who were destined to be joined as one. A love like no other captured for all to see. My gift to her.
“It was more like a funeral than a wedding to be honest. It was the hardest hour of my life,” Mosher told InsideEdition.com.
“The last words she said were her vows,” Karas told WFSB.
Towards the end of the ceremony, Karas took her camera out and was able to capture Heather’s fleeting joy.
Earned her wings! One of my dearest friends got married this past Friday, December 22nd, to the man of her dreams. She had been battling stage 4 cancer and it had spread all throughout her body, but she was determined to marry her soul mate. Less than 24 hours later her spirit flew from her body and ascended to be with God. I am in awe of the strength Dave's love inspired in Heather even in her last hours. She was his great love and he was hers. Heather, I miss and love you more than I can say. Thank you for sharing this life's journey with me. ❤️
“We were losing her as we were all standing there, thinking, to hold onto this, because this was the last she had to give,” Karas said.
The image taken by Karas is symbolic of her spirit and strength says Mosher.
“It reminds me of someone who is crossing the finish line of a marathon or something,” Mosher told WFSB.
“Nobody thought she would’ve made it that far. She proved them all wrong and that’s what that photo says to me,” Mosher said.
The wedding had been brought forward and had originally been planned for Dec 30, which, in another twist of bitter irony, ended up being the date of her funeral.
My beautiful friend, I know you are near. I wanted everyone to see some of these photos of you I took which were never shared publicly. Your smile! It embodies you. The most genuine and striking girl who I was lucky enough to be close to. This is how I'll always remember you. You are my shining star.
Her obituary reads:”A musical soul, she could often be found dancing, laughing and singing with her love and partner, Dave Mosher. Heather spent her last moments as she spent her life; giving out love and affection to her family and innumerable friends.”