A Memorial Photoshoot // In Loving Memory of Tristin Woods

Tristin Woods passed away unexpectedly in a car accident, a month before his wedding day on October 11th, 2014. Today is the one year anniversary of his passing. Earlier this year, Tristin's fiance, Lauren Reynolds wanted to honor him with a memorial shoot in her wedding dress that she was never able to wear down the isle. The first week of Spring was the perfect time. This season and photo shoot being a symbol of healing, blooming and renewal to the soul. When death comes before "I do," and life forces you to rearrange your molecules, Lauren bravely shares her story of love, loss, and healing. She hopes this tribute helps others to have a new outlook on life and to love wholeheartedly.

FULL VIDEO AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST: purpose of this shoot, how we met, how I lived through the wedding day, what I would tell Tristin if he were here. 

Tristin and I have a beach that we loved to go to, the Dash Point Beach. On the day of our wedding, family and friends gathered at that beach. We all wrote to Tristin on these purple balloons and we sent our messages to heaven. I let mine go first and then everyone else let their’s go. It was a really good day, but at the end of the day, I still went home without a husband and I woke up without one.
I don’t know why he had to go at this time, but I know us being together was really important.
Today is my wedding day. On October 11th I didn’t just lose Tristin, I lost the life we’ll never live together, I lost all of the children we’ll never have and all of the grandchildren we’ll never get to spoil, all of the mornings to wake up to my husband’s smiling, loving face, I lost my other half. I know Tristin is forever grateful for all of the people who have taken care of me while he isn’t able to. Today I’ll be in the loving arms of my friends and family, and I know Tristin’s spirit will be with me today, so instead of celebrating the wedding that won’t happen today, we’ll celebrate love. The love that Tristin and I share, and the love that has been shown to me, my family, and what would have been my family in-law today.
Turn to your own life. Open your eyes and love. Really, really love with every authentic fiber of your being.
We met at a church potluck. I only went because I knew that he was going to be there. We hugged goodbye and I was walking to my car, and he said, “Hey wait. I just wanted to tell you that you are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.” I felt like I was in a movie. Is this real life?! I got in my car and screamed and I was hitting my steering wheel. It was just perfect.
Faith is all I have to live on right now.
Tomorrow I fly to Belgium to serve with the Volunteers For Peace organization at Centre Couleurs Du Monde, a refugee center of the Belgian Red Cross. I am ready and excited for this journey, and plan on holding Tristin’s spirit close. I’m not only traveling because I don’t want to miss this amazing opportunity, but also because I want to experience the world in a way Tristin wasn’t able to. I’m doing it for the both of us.
He would call me and if I didn’t answer he would leave these little voicemails of his pocket noise. I used to hate it, because I just wanted him to leave a real message. I have like twenty of them, but I love it now, because it’s HIS pocket noise.
God was good to me when he sent you. You brought my life so much joy and love. You have now turned into my very own guardian angle to protect me and comfort me for the rest of my life. There aren’t words to describe the agony my heart feels at this moment. There aren’t always explanations for tragedies like these, but I have faith that God will get me through this. Rest in peace baby, all my love.
One year ago yesterday, July 11th 2014 was the day Tristin put a ring on my finger and we were able to officially announce our engagement to be married. Our love was pure and real and strong. We were one. We were confident in our decision to seal our love in marriage at such a young age. He was my hand to hold through every path we traveled. He was my cheerleader and my comforter. I’m honored by the way he treated me and loved me.
Yesterday, July 11th, also marks 9 months since his passing. My soul feels quiet. As I look out the window and ponder over these last 9 months, I feel agony, yet peace at the same time. Just as if Tristin is here, holding my hand telling me everything will be okay. He’s still my cheerleader, my comforter, and my hand to hold through the long nights, and the exciting adventures.
I’m so grateful that I got to be with Tristin and that he got to be with me.
‘You’ll get through this.’ That’s what people say, don’t they? They said it to me and it really pissed me off. What exactly does it mean... to get through this. Through what? What’s on the other side? I didn’t want to get through it. I wanted to die in it. And then someone told me that grief is like a suitcase that sits at the bottom of your bed, and no matter what without fail you have to pick it up, every day, take it with you. Somedays it will be filled with rocks and you won’t think you could carry it. And then other days... light as a feather. That, she said, is getting through it.
— Claire Bennigan