Ben Nunery and his young daughter Olivia have published a gripping and beautiful series of images in which they bid farewell to their home and to their wife and mother Ali, who died of cancer in 2011 at 31 years of age.
When he wrote about the experience, Ben said, “Many people have asked me how I felt while doing that photo session. What I want them to know is that this isn’t a story about grief and loss and hurt. Yes, I’ve gone through those emotions and still do but that’s not what I want people to see in these photos. This is a story about love.”
On the left, a photo of Ben and Ali taken by Ali’s sister Melanie in 2009. On the right, Ben and his daughter Olivia standing together in the same doorway in December 2013.
Hopefully, Melanie’s photos will help Olivia remember her mother and the home where she began her life.
As they went through the house, Olivia stopped to play with a curling iron that had belonged to her mother. A similar photo of her mom Ali getting ready with a curling iron on her wedding day is on the left.
On the left, Ben stands in their empty house in 2009 as his wife Ali comes down the stairs. On the right, he and daughter Olivia play on the same stairs in 2013
“This isn’t a story about grief and loss and hurt. Yes, I’ve gone through those emotions and still do but that’s not what I want people to see in these photos. This is a story about love,” wrote Ben.
“The memories of Ali don’t live in that house,” Ben wrote of his late wife. “They live with us, in our hearts.”
“I wanted to be able to show Olivia the place where her mother and I started our lives together and dreamed of raising children,” wrote Ben.
Ben and Ali on their wedding day in 2009. On the right, Ben and his daughter Olivia in 2013.
Ben and Olivia with the glass angel she carries everywhere, she says it reminds her of her mom.
Melanie said that after her sister died, feathers often fall out of nowhere. Olivia found this white feather during the photoshoot.
Ben and Olivia are moving to a home where Olivia will have more room to play and grow.
Ben learned how to play his and Ali’s wedding song, Stevie Wonder’s “I Believe (When I Fall In Love With You It Will Be Forever),” on the ukulele. Now he plays it for his daughter.
“Our lives will continue down a curvy and uncertain path, but Olivia and I will be able to look at these photos and know that for a short time there was a place where I was the luckiest man in the world, even if just for a little while,” wrote Ben.