A wedding typically becomes a family affair, and often relatives will fly in from all over the country, or the world, to see their loved ones marry. Most people can look forward to their big day, knowing that at worst, the only things likely to spoil it are some family arguments, or maybe some spilled drinks.
Jessica Padgett was looking forward to marrying the man of her dreams, firefighter Kendall Murphy. It was cruel that she should lose her future husband at all, let alone before they had managed to celebrate the love they had for one another on their big day. The passing of her lover left her devastated just 10 months before the pair tied the knot.
The date had been marked in the calendar, and it was rapidly approaching, but Jessica didn’t have her groom to share the day with. Still grieving, she tried to get rid of some of the pain any way she could, and as her wedding date drew closer, she came up with a plan. Who do most people hire for their wedding day? A photographer. That was exactly who Jessica was going to hire on the date her wedding was due to take place.
Jessica Padgett had found the person she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with while in college. That was where she met Kendall Murphy, the guy who she would describe as the man of her dreams.
Padgett and Murphy lived and worked in Indiana – Jessica was employed in a nursing home, while Kendall was a firefighter. They loved watching American football, and both followed the fortunes of their local college team, the University of Notre Dame.
Her husband-to-be grew up just seven miles from Jessica. Despite living so close to each other, they never met until they went to college. Jessica said the Kendall was an amazing guy, filled with compassion who would lend a shirt to just about anybody.
His love of helping people led him to the fire department; risking his life to protect others was something Kendall was passionate about. Being a firefighter comes with its dangers, but it was an unusual accident that would end up costing Kendall his life.
Her world came crashing down
Responding to what seemed like a routine call, Kendall was one of the first at the scene at an emergency. One of his colleagues was close on his tail in a fire truck, but it was that colleague who would end up crashing into Kendall, fatally injuring him.
The driver of the truck was Colby Blake, who was alleged to have been driving under the influence. Kendall had parked his own car at the scene when Blake barreled into some parked vehicles, causing them to crash into Jessica’s future husband.
Planning their wedding
The couple had already begun planning their wedding. Kendall was run over in November of last year, less than a year to go until he and Jessica were going to get married. They had been lining up who their DJ was going to be, sorted their outfits, and were even getting close to confirming the dinner menu.
As far as the pair were concerned, the time needed to hurry up so they could be married already.
What he left behind
Apart from his loving future wife, Kendall left behind a big and loving family. This is his young cousin who he never got the chance to meet as he was born after Kendall’s tragic accident.
Arriving at the scene of a car crash, Kendall could never have predicted that lightning would strike twice and there would be another crash, causing even more devastation. A reckless piece of driving cost Kendall his life, and deprived Jessica of the opportunity to marry the man she loved so dearly.
Help from the family
Losing someone is never easy, and for Jessica it would be important that she didn’t go through the grieving process alone. Thankfully there were plenty of family members on hand to give her plenty of love and support, and she had several young nieces and nephews to give a big cuddle to if she felt like it.
A tragic loss made all the worse by the fact it was so avoidable, and had Kendall’s colleague been more aware of the situation Kendall could still have been here on his wedding day.
Still a hole in her life
They say time is a great healer, but for Jessica time hadn’t fully healed the wounds she suffered from the loss of her fiance. The grieving process can’t just be turned off like a switch and it often simply takes as long as it takes.
Jessica had been robbed of the ceremony that would show the world the special bond she and Kendall had between each other, but sadly it was an event she wasn’t going to be able to attend. Until she had a great idea.
An event for the whole family
Feeling the need to fill the hole left behind by Kendall’s untimely death, a plan was put into place. Jessica spoke with her mom who set the wheels in motion for her daughter. Soon an event the entire family could attend was being planned, and all of those originally meant to be involved in the wedding party were getting prepared.
That meant all the nieces and nephews who were looking forward to being a part of Jessica and Kendall’s big day were being invited to something else, but it was equally special.
Saving the date
Although her future husband sadly passed away, Jessica kept the date of her wedding. That day meant something special to her, and she didn’t want to just write it off, so it remained on her calendar.
Kendall had proposed to Jessica and she said yes, so she wanted to keep that moment between her and her fiancé. Jessica and her family were planning on a very special ceremony to help remember Kendall, and it was going to be on his and Jessica’s wedding day.
Hiring a photographer
Weddings require a photographer so that people can remember the special day, but without a groom, Jessica wasn’t planning a wedding. She and Kendall had saved the date of September 29, 2018, for their wedding day so Jessica chose that day to hire a photographer.
All celebrations of love need a photoshoot, so that’s what Jessica was determined to still have. Now all she needed to do was to come up with a way to showcase the love she and Kendall shared.
Getting ready for a big day
Jessica was keen to show the world the love she had for her fallen husband so she went ahead with the plans for September 29 as best she could. Sure, she didn’t have a groom anymore, but that didn’t matter, he would be there in spirit.
Jessica went to a bridal shop and got dressed in the outfit she had planned to wear on the big day with Kendall. With a little bit of help from all the family, Jessica was soon wearing her full wedding dress.
Celebrating Kendall’s life
As well as helping Jessica grieve a little more, the day was planned as a celebration of Kendall’s life. Here Jessica and Kendall’s family could come together on the day they were meant to be celebrating love.
Jessica came dressed in full wedding attire, and the photographer commented that she looked strong and invincible. The wedding photographer added that Jessica bore the weight of the universe on her shoulders but made it look like a pair of wings.
Kendall had been with his local fire department since 2016 before that fateful day in November last year. The firefighter said he wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps who also worked as part of the fire service.
As well as his wife and family, members of the fire service were left saddened by the loss of one of their brothers. While they often put their lives on the line, it’s not expected for another firefighter to cause the death of another.
The message delivered by Jessica and Kendall’s family was that family matters. Members on both sides of the family turned up to support Jessica in her time of need, and to remember the young hero they too had lost.
Together they are stronger and the support they gave Jessica on that day made sure she was able to get through with plenty of shoulders to cry on. She had been with Kendall since college and letting go was going to be one of the hardest things she’d ever have to do.
One last present
Jessica was presented with a gift from Kendall’s family, it was his cowboy boots filled with flowers. The boots must have been incredibly important to Kendall as when Jessica saw what was coming she could no longer contain her emotions.
These pictures show that she has been dealing with a lot and standing there all alone was taking its toll on her. The day was mixed with grief for her loss but laughter in remembering the good times with Kendall.
Having the wedding party was a part of the healing process for Jessica, but it gave both sets of parents the chance to enjoy the day they were robbed of too. Jessica had to be brave to try to enjoy this day, not only for her but to give Kendall’s family and friends the chance to enjoy the memorial as well.
Kendall had been described by Jessica as a selfless man, and now his loved ones were all turning out to give his wife the support she needed.
Lanterns for Kendall
Jessica had told the members of Kendall’s fire service that they didn’t have to worry about coming. She figured they would probably be late anyway, so she wasn’t expecting to see them there, but when she arrived, she got a shock.
Kendall’s colleagues were all there waiting for her when she came and by the end of the day, many family members and friends were lighting lanterns to drift up into the sky in memory of him.
A difficult day
When the day came where Jessica would hold the wedding ceremony she knew she needed to be brave. Jessica said that she tried to show her strength. She knew Kendall wasn’t coming back and she tried to be brave for herself and the others who were there.
While dressed in her wedding outfit, Jessica said she lost control of her emotions when she saw her father. She was devastated that she wouldn’t be able to have the father-daughter dance, so many brides are fortunate enough to enjoy on their wedding day.
Sitting together one last time
This was the day where Jessica and Kendall were meant to turn to each together and say “I do.” Instead, Jessica had to visit the grave of her deceased fiance, left wondering what could have been if his fortunes had been different.
With so much for the young couple to look forward to, Jessica was left looking back and reflecting on the good times while sitting with her fiance once more. This ceremony might have been a way to say goodbye, but that didn’t make it any easier.
Hard to say goodbye
Jessica said that at first she didn’t want to keep the dress she had picked out for her wedding, but her parents had paid for it, so they went and picked it up. When she received the dress, the pieces fell into place and that’s where she got the idea to arrive for her wedding.
Jessica wanted to have the memories of standing in her dress on that day, so that’s what she tried to do. This memorial will live long in her memory and ensured her wedding dress wasn’t wasted.
Gone but not forgotten
The support she received was incredible, and the number of people who turned out for the big event was amazing. It showed that while Kendall might not be here anymore, his memory will live on through her and everyone who knew him.
Friends and family swapped stories about Kendall, laughing and crying together. The maid of honor and best man even gave the speeches they would have done if Kendall was still here. Jessica might always miss Kendall, but thanks to the love she has for him she’ll never forget him.