Dying mother spent her last day before going to hospital celebrating her daughter's wedding
A woman dying of cancer in Australia decided to spend her final day out of hospital celebrating her daughter's wedding, and the wedding photographer was there to capture every beautiful moment.
27-year-old Jessica Quigley recalled how at the beginning of 2016, her mother Leona was diagnosed with a rare form of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells which accounts for 15 percent of all blood cancers and two percent of all cancers.
But Leona wanted nothing more than to be present at her daughter's wedding, and at the time of her diagnosis, Jessica was a full 10 months away from being engaged to her now-husband Adam. "She was the most amazing person and both mine and Adam's best friend," Jessica explained.
"Mum's health wasn't that bad when we got engaged. She was away with us on the holiday and knew all about the proposal before it happened, which was impressive as she could never keep a secret," she added, when the pair got engaged on a trip to Hamilton Island.
Adam and Jessica had always maintained that they'd wanted at least a year-long engagement before tying the knot, and such was Leona's health that they didn't even think about Jessica's "super strong" mother potentially not being able to attend.
But over the next few months, Leona's health began to deteriorate, and by the time the time came for Jessica's nuptials in November of 2017, Jessica had already been told by her mother several times not to bring the wedding forward.
"She was stubborn and downplayed how sick she was," Jessie explained. "She wouldn't let us bring it forward, however, and so we kept the original date."
So Jessica and Adam were scheduled to get married on November 4, but the occasion was given extra emotional weight as it turned out to be Leona's last day out of hospital, before heading into palliative care.
"She was that sick she had to be specially transported up to the wedding in the New South Wales Southern Highlands from Sydney and back on the same day," explained Jessica.
"She fell over there when she got there and so had bruises on her face and neck which my makeup artist covered up extremely well. But mum was a fighter and even though doctors told her she didn't have long, she fought every single hurdle and continued fighting on the day."
Leona even managed to pen a speech for her daughter that day; Jessica reads it from time to time, and it remains an amazing memory for her of her mother. "She wrote: 'I may not be there to hold your hand each day, but I'll always be there in your heart'. It was touching, beautiful and I'll remember it forever."
Leona died just the next month, but looking back on her wedding with a baby on the way, Jessica is excited to pass on her legacy. "You always think your mum will meet your baby and you don't contemplate a future without that,' she admitted, "but it was good to be able to say goodbye to her."
"Me, my aunt and other family members were all with her in the hospital for the final four days of her life. We got to spend time with her and say our farewells."
"It meant everything to all of us that mum was there on the day," revealed Jessica, but even as she prepares to become a mother herself, Jessica Quigley will always have her mother Leona in her heart.