These pictures do more than just look beautiful – they tell a story….
– a story that 2-year-old Scarlette pictured here cannot even comprehend right now. This shoot was her mother’s idea, and seeing your little one in your wedding dress is sentimental, yes, but nothing compared to what Melinda felt…. the emotion behind these photos is something little Scarlette won’t understand for years to come….
On July 11, 2009, Melinda & Michael were married. Melinda was pregnant with Scarlette the day of their wedding. Their son Caleb was just a lil guy.
In Melinda’s words…. “I was 13 weeks pregnant when we got married, just another reason I really wanted the pictures of her in my dress. Something for her when she gets married, because her dad won’t be there.”
Scarlette’s father, Melinda’s husband Michael, was taken tragically in a motorcycle accident when Scarlette was just a baby…..
“On June 12, 2010 we had a family party in east aurora, Mike wanted to ride his motorcycle so the kids and I left a bit before him. i was at my aunts for an hour or 2 waiting for him…he could be a bit slow. When my other aunt got to the party she had said there was a motorcycle accident and there was a lot of traffic, so i got very worried and started calling his cell phone and our house phone. I could not get a hold of him so I packed up the kids and left. I pulled off of my aunts street and got a restricted call, knowing exactly what that call meant. It was my father in law, which was the chief of Lancaster at the time so the dispatcher knowing him called him. Mikes dad told me mike got into an accident and he was being mercy flighted to ECMC trauma unit. I turned around and my family grabbed the kids and my cousin drove me to the hospital to find him on a ventilator. The doctor said his brain was swelling and they had to relieve pressure – so they drilled into his skull. After waiting in the waiting room all night and only and only being able to see him for 10 minutes around 4 am a priest came to me to tell me to go home because I wasn’t going to be able to see him any time soon because they were busy with gunshot victims. So I went home to see my kids and breastfeed Scarlette. Shortly after that I got a call saying I needed to get to the hospital quick because mikes blood pressure was very low and I needed to make a decision whether I was going to donate his organs, which at that time I said no.
I rushed to the hospital, and they kept asking about the organ donation, but I said no. The doctor said he was most likely brain-dead but had to do a test to make sure. The doctor said Mike would probably not survive the move. I said no to the test, but because of his blood pressure being so low even with medication we decided to take him off the meds at 1pm. The Doctor said he would go into cardiac arrest within 15 minutes. I laid with my husband in bed waiting for this to happen….at 8 pm he was still hanging on, which gave me hope. I kept asking questions. I asked for the test to make sure he was brain-dead for sure, but to get that test you have to donate organs, so I decided to go forward with that. If my husband was truly brain-dead and it wasn’t a guess, at least he’s living on through others and gave the greatest gift anyone could ever give. At 1 am I signed the papers to donate my husband organs, I choose which ones I did and didn’t want donated, then….they had to place those organs. That night I slept with him for the last time. About 6 pm the next day I said goodbye. The next time I saw him was in a casket. These were the hardest days of my life. Mike had been my life since I was 20 years old, my life surrounded his…..I couldn’t live without him…”
The day of the accident their son Caleb was just 2 years old and little Scarlette was only 5 months.
“After mikes death my family and friends supported us in every way possible. I would have never thought this would have happened to us, for Mike to die such a terrible death at only 29 years old. To not see his kids grow, or even for us to experience a one year wedding anniversary.
My heart will never be whole, and life never the same I have found some happiness, especially in my new addition that will be arriving in June. I got close to a great guy which led to a love. It will always be a different love than I had for mike but he puts a smile on mine and my kids faces. Most people say mike brought Nick into my life. I am so blessed to have had Mikes 2 babies, they make my life worthwhile. Mike will always be with us in spirit and in our hearts….”
So you see – these beautiful photos tell a story, for Melinda, for Mike, for their family and friends and someday for little Scarlette when she is old enough to understand.
The smile on Scarlette’s face and Melinda’s new growing family show that in the face of a tragedy – life does go on – but no one will ever forget Mike, the love they shared, the friendships and the family, the children that will never know their father… but the memory of Mike lives on through them and we couldn’t be more touched or humbled that Melinda chose us to capture this for her and her family.
Melinda and her family and friends have started an online petition to retest elderly drivers as it was an elderly man who made the terrible decision to make a left hand turn in front of Mike’s motorcycle that day. Mike did everything he could to try to avoid the accident. There just was not enough time for him to react at the SUV pulled out in front of him.
Please take a moment to sign the petition for Melinda and her family and all other families that may have been, and can avoid being victims of senseless driving errors.