Late Dad Makes Stunning Appearance in Photo With Widow, Baby

Jennifer O'Neill
·Writer
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Thanks to one photographer’s handiwork, widow Stephanie Summers has the family photo she thought she’d never see. (Photo: Laura Gordillo Photography)

A year after Stephanie Summers lost her husband, Taurean Summers — the 28-year-old paramedic was killed in a plane crash while escorting a patient from Las Cruces, N.M., to a hospital in Phoenix — the widow decided to honor her late husband with a photo shoot. Stephanie, who was five months pregnant when Taurean died, contacted Phoenix photographer Laura Gordillo to recreate the sun-and-smiles-filled session that she and her husband had done for their anniversary — only this time she wanted to pose with her son, named Taurean for dad, in the same spots.

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But when Gordillo presented the images from Stephanie and baby Taurean’s session, she treated the widow to a touching surprise. The photographer doctored one of the mother-son shots to include Taurean’s dad looking down at him, which she transposed from a picture taken during the paramedic’s original photo shoot with the widow. “Stephanie didn’t think she’d have a family photo to ever hang on her wall and show her son,” Gordillo tells Yahoo Parenting about the stunning image, which has gone viral since she posted it on her Facebook page on Monday, with nearly 3,000 views. “Now it’s something she can show him for years to come.”

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Stephanie “had seen a similar photo I’d done for my niece, who lost her grandfather,” explains Gordillo, but neither the mom nor the artist had any idea how well the images would combine. “When she saw it, she told me she just broke down in tears.”

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Photos: Laura Gordillo Photography

The same goes for Gordillo, who detailed in her Facebook post that as she edited the photos together, “I couldn’t help but cry the entire time! My heart broke to see what could have been. …[Stephanie] said it hurt so much and she missed him so much and she knows he would have been so in love with his son!” Gordillo adds, “I told her he is and will always be by your side, just like in this picture!”


The photographer tells Yahoo Parenting that the response to the image on social media has been “overwhelming and a wonderful experience at the same time.” Hundreds of people have since reached out to Gordillo to share their memories of similarly treasured photos of late members of their families. “They seem to be drawn to this image because it hits home,” she says. “Death is something no one is exempt from. I’m just hoping people also learn from this and take pictures of their family as much as they can because nothing is guaranteed.”

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Photo: Laura Gordillo Photography

And while Gordillo says Stephanie isn’t ready to talk about the bittersweet photo, the photographer says, “She’s really happy with the image and by sharing it she wants to remind people to cherish those they love.”


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