High school senior Mackenzie Stewart and her boyfriend of several years, Marshall Curtis, had plans of sharing a life together, with their biggest upcoming plan to go to the prom. But tragically, Marshall died in a car accident just a month before the dance, and Mackenzie was not about to go without him.
That’s when Marshall’s father, Carson Curtis, decided to step in and accompany Mackenzie to the prom. Now the heartwarming photos from the evening have been making the rounds on social media, showing Carson overwhelmed with emotion as he escorts Mackenzie and receives support from their entire Canadian community in Miramichi, New Brunswick.
“We were heartbroken for her that Marshall couldn’t take her,” Marshall’s mom and Carson’s wife Elizabeth tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “She insisted she didn’t want to go without him. We were also wondering who could fill his shoes. That’s when Carson decided to ask her if he could take her.”
Mackenzie jumped at the idea. “She thought it was great. We didn’t want her to miss out on her prom,” says Elizabeth.
Carson color-coordinated his prom look with Mackenzie, ordering his tux from the same place his son had planned to get his own.
The father-girlfriend date was reminiscent of another similar situation that occurred in May in Pennsylvania, when Robert Brown accompanied his late son’s girlfriend, Kaylee Suders, to the prom, after her boyfriend — Robert’s son Carter Brown, 19 — died in a car accident. “I didn’t want to go anymore, and when Robert said he already talked to the school about it, I realized how much he wanted to make me happy, so I knew I had to go! He made prom so much fun,” Kaylee had said.
Elizabeth says that Marshall’s death has been a tremendous loss for everyone in their town, explaining that the loss has been especially palpable during graduation season.
“We are so blessed to have the love and support of her family, friends, and our community. We don’t want people to forget Marshall,” she says. “All of our friends throughout New Brunswick are talking about the support we’ve gotten. You just wouldn’t get this support in large cities. Mackenzie and all of Marshall’s family need that support right now.”
As the town’s tradition goes, each couple is photographed before entering the event hall, and the community gathers to watch the youngsters looking their best on prom night.
“The photos of the two of them are beautiful. Marshall would be so proud of Mackenzie and his dad. He loved them both deeply,” Elizabeth says. “This was the last thing that Carson could do for our boy. I think Marshall would be honored too that his dad stepped up.”
At the prom, Mackenzie was crowned prom queen, her newly tattooed forearm on display.
Explaining the meaning of the tattoo, Elizabeth says that Marshall loved bass fishing and that the D.E.F.I stands for “Don’t ever forget it.” She says, “It’s been our family trademark for years. Each time any of us buys a card for the other, we always sign ‘I love you, DEFI.'”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• Daughter’s proud Facebook post about immigrant college-grad dad goes viral: ‘He’s truly the American dream’
• After son dies in car crash, dad takes late son’s girlfriend to the prom
•‘For da culture’: Why teens are embracing their heritage on prom night