Widow Poses In Wedding Dress Every Year To Remember Late Husband
Vanessa Lanktree, 29, from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada, was left heartbroken after her husband of just under two years Eric passed away in a motorbike accident.
However, determined to pay tribute to her high school sweetheart, she now takes pictures in the gown every year.
The tradition didn't happen straight away, but after years of grief, in September 2016, the day after what would have been the couple's fourth wedding anniversary, Vanessa found herself putting on her bridal gown.
She had never dry cleaned the dress and it still had dirt from the dance floor on the hem.
Vanessa put on Keith Urban's song 'Making Memories Of Us', a track which was played at her wedding, and danced around the kitchen.
The next year she put on the dress again and posed for a picture in the yard of her home, a house she and Eric had built together, and in 2018, she took a simple snap of herself in the gown.
Vanessa has no plans to stop honouring the occasion any time soon. This year, she even asked her boyfriend Kurtis Isbister, 29, to help her taking the pictures.
As he supportively manned the camera, she posed in her wedding dress and rubber boots in a sunflower field.
Explaining the special photographs, she said: "It's my way of celebrating and remembering that special day and keeping Eric's memory alive.
"Most people get to go out with their husband for supper or a date night on their anniversary and this is my thing that I get to do without him.
"I try to do it on our anniversary or as close to it as possible. I will probably do this every year for the rest of my life."
Eric died aged 25 in a motorbike accident in November 3rd 2014, while on holiday in Las Vegas with his friends and his father.
Reflecting on their relationship, she said: "We had such an amazing relationship. We met when I was in grade 10 [aged 16] and he was in grade 12 [aged 17].
"He was my first boyfriend, my first love. Our relationship through the years was so strong because it started so young. I had no doubt about our lives together."
Eric proposed to Vanessa on Christmas Eve in 2011 and they tied the knot a year later.
"I already knew I wanted to marry him but when I saw him crying, I thought how lucky I was.
"The best part of our day was being surrounded by our family and friends. At the reception, we did not leave the dance floor. If anyone wanted to see us or talk to us, they had to dance."
"When my father-in-law called me and told me that my husband had passed away, I just threw my phone and walked out of the house," she remembered.
"Grief doesn't go away but somehow you find little things to help you cope, like putting on your dress," she said.
"Life doesn't stop and it pushes you forward. We still want to find happiness in our lives. I know Eric wouldn't want me to be miserable. He was such a happy person. He taught me to look for the best in life.
"I'm never going to get it cleaned and I am never going to have it boxed up. As long as it fits me, I'll wear it."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS