After newlywed Amanda Snyder lost her husband in an accident less than three months before the birth of their first child, she cancelled the baby shower that had been scheduled for her.
But she held onto plans for a maternity photo that she and her late husband, Jesse, had wanted.
“I knew if I didn't get photos done I would regret it, because all I have left now are memories and photos of my husband. So photos mean the world to me,” Snyder told TODAY.
She reached out to her photographer and asked about including Jesse in the pictures as a way to honor his memory. The photographer agreed, using Photoshop to “ghost” his image onto some of the pictures.
The results were a series of poignant photos taken just day before Amanda gave birth to her son, Jameson William, last week.
“I felt it's what he would have wanted. He would want Jameson to know he's still here by our side,” said Snyder, 25.
Her husband, Jesse, died on May 27 in an accident while taking care of their home. The couple had only been married since March 10.
Synder said they had already selected their outfits for the maternity photo shoot. She had picked out a blue dress and bought her husband a matching blue shirt.
“He passed before we were able to get them done, so I actually buried him in that shirt because I knew he'd want that,” she said.
The images of her husband used in the maternity pictures were taken from his brother's wedding a week before he died.
Photographer Shanna Logan said the photo session outside her studio in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, came together very easily.
“It was like talking to an old friend. Amanda had that kind of energy, and we just clicked,” she said.
Snyder opened up about her husband, his personality and her favorite memories.
“She cried a lot, but it wasn’t a sad thing — it seemed to help her process the loss,” Logan said. “I think it brought her some closure and helped her heal.”
Snyder said she was extremely pleased with the results.
“They mean more to be than anyone will ever know. Shanna did such a wonderful and amazing job I could never thank her enough,” Snyder said. “It turned out to be such a beautiful way to honor my husband, who was so proud to be a husband and a daddy.”
Snyder said her husband had picked their son’s name, which they both planned to keep secret until after he was born.
“But with Jesse passing I thought everyone should know our son’s name so I had it placed in the obituary,” she said. “His initials are the same as my husbands: JWS.”
Snyder said she didn’t expect her photographs to go viral but considers it a “blessing” that so many people have seen them.
“My husband was my best friend and my soul mate. It was the truest form of love from the very beginning,” she said. “Anyone who knew him knew how passionate he was about anything he did. There wasn't a day that went by that he wasn't bragging about having me as his wife or being Jameson's daddy.”