*NOTE – Sometimes I get long winded on my story that goes along with my posts. While most of the time I get it that you may go straight to the photos, but this long winded post – you are going to want to read.
It was a Sunday last May. I got an email from a energetic young lady interested in availability for a wedding on June 20th of 2009. She noted her connection to our photos and hoped we were available. I wrote her back to let her know we were indeed available and after a few quick notes back and forth we set up a time to meet. Nikki is one of those people who draw you in within seconds. She is nice from the word go and has a geniune passion for life. Before we met she wrote me – “…my situation is a little different. I live in Dekalb IL and am getting treatments at Barnes Jewish hospital because I have cancer.” I remember that moment like time stood still. I had been in the midst of having a bad day because we were getting ready to go out of town in a couple weeks and I had not worked up a good tan for our trip. It was as if the things that had been running through my head had in one sentence become frivilous.
Nikki needed to set up a meeting with me soon, because she would be living at Barnes hospital for a little more than a month undergoing stem cell replacement. How could this positive, energetic, magnificent girl be sick? I asked her questions of how she coped and ignorant questions that only someone lucky enough to be nieve to cancer would ask. She simply told me – “it’s not the cards you are dealt – it’s how you play the game.” I was at that moment as I am every day – amazed and empowered by Nikki’s strength.
When we found out my mother had cancer – exactly 1 month after meeting Nikki – she was there to pick me up. And I knew – she’d been brought to my life for many reasons, but the timing she was brought was an act of God. She sent me books to read, articles on line, suggestions for diet, and ever single time she emailed me – she’d ask about how she was and not ever talk about herself. Because that’s who she is – she finds a way to talk about other’s hardships and ignores her own.
Through conversations we talked more and more about Tom. This amazing man who stood by her side throughout all the madness. He kissed her head when she’d lost her hair and told her she was beautiful, held her hand every time the Dr. told her the cancer was back and told her “We’ll beat this”. He was her strength, and finally on a random day – they decided life is too short and went and got married. I was so excited for her, because the one thing she really wanted is to be Tom’s wife, and when time isn’t promised – you want every minute of it to be in the arms of your husband. So Nikki & Tom in front of their most important people tied the knot. But we still had a celebration day to look forward to.
Before I get to the pics of this celebration day – I want to mention something that puts things in perspective. 6 weeks before this day Nikki was having more than 10% of her liver removed. What were you doing 6 weeks before your wedding? Were you stressing over the details? Were you doing final dress fittings, bachelorette parties, and consumed by all that is bridal? Nikki was having the part of her liver poisoned by cancer removed. And had a 6 – 8 week recovery time. The bride stuff got over run by the cancer stuff. But not for long. The day Nikki got married (again)- she was cancer free. Just one more reason to celebrate!
I hope you enjoy the photos of the amazing celebration!
Nikki had NO idea how beautiful she was on her wedding day, but she was by far one of the most beautiful brides I’ve ever seen.
And Tom. He warms my heart with his soft smile. He is so incredibly likeable. And one amazing husband and human being.
I HEART THIS MOMENT. By far the best expressions EVER from a First Glance.
WARNING – the next two photos are HOTTTT.
Nikki – you are so gorgeous. I adore you.
I planned to be a wreck this day. I brought tissues, couldn’t sleep, wore waterproof mascara, and prepared Roger for the fact that he would need to be strong for me as I would likely have several meltdowns. I never cried. Not once. I felt 110% happy and blessed. Blessed to witness two people riddled with hardships have a day that made it all worthwhile. Blessed to have a job that allows me to capture their love and happiness. Blessed to have met someone who has taught me so much about myself and about life – without even trying. And blessed to have the man I love right by me capturing it all. Because happiness is hardly real if it isn’t shared. If you take one thing away from their story – please take that.
Towards the end of the night I sat back and watched Nikki. Dancing, laughing. Happy. If I didn’t tell you she what she’d gone through – you wouldn’t have known. She out partied, out danced, and out smiled everybody. What a dream come true.
Nikki & Tom honeymooned in Mexico and had an incredible time just loving and living life. Most newlyweds get settled in and get going with normal life. These two hoped to not get back into normal life, but a new life – a cancer free life. Sadly enough, Nikki’s numbers are back up and now these two are trying to move to Indiana to receive help from the same doctor that treated Lance Armstrong. What I didn’t cry at the wedding – I cried at hearing the news. As I sit writing this post, I let Nikki remind me to breathe in all that life has to offer. I remind myself to grab my family and tell them how much I love them. I take in the scenery, love more, do more. And I’m thankful. And I let Nikki & Tom remind me what the vows we take really mean. Because in good and bad and in sickness and in health is a vow we often take for granted, but it is the ultimate aspect of love.
I hope Nikki & Tom’s story touches you as much as it has me. Nikki & Tom – I love you both and look forward to a lifelong friendship. Thank you.
Can’t get enough of these two? I don’t blame you! Here is the link to all of their photos click here.
To hear more about Nikki’s story click here.
and to make a donation to the American Cancer Society in Nikki’s honor click here.