MICHIGAN – It’s said a picture is worth a thousand words, but a Grand Rapids photographer said one of her latest works is worth more.
“I know when I captured it, I started crying and so I knew what a great moment was,” said photographer Kari Wieringa. “Not just for me to be a part of, but just that I was able to capture it for her.”
Wieringa was hired this past month to take pictures for a wedding, but the bride had an unusual request.
“She said, ‘You know, I really would like to go and visit it. Is that something you'd be willing to photograph, to go to the cemetery?” Wieringa said.
The wedding pit-stop made social media history.
Wieringa, along with the bride and family, stopped at a local cemetery so the bride could visit her father’s resting place.
Wieringa was so touched by the moment, that she posted a picture on her business Facebook Fan Page, Zander and Breck Photography.
The picture shows the bride kneeling at her father’s grave, holding flowers and tears streaming down her face.
“When she fell down to her knees and started crying, that emotion immediately overcame me,” Wieringa said.
The picture has inspired thousands of people online.
The post has more than 700,000 likes and more than 21,000 comments. Facebook reported that the picture has more than 20,000,000 views, a complete shock to the woman at the center of it.
“Like, I understand the impact it has on me, but it’s so strange to think that this photo is having such an impact one everybody else,” said the bride, Paige Eding of Zeeland.
Eding, 21, said her father Mark suddenly passed away in late 2011. He died from a lung infection at 45-years-old.
“I love him and that’s all I can really hope for is that he knows how much we miss him,” said Eding.
Eding’s story certainly has touched the lives of millions around the world, including the woman behind the camera.
Wieringa’s mom, Pamela, passed away when she was 7-years-old.
“I lost my mom when I was little, so just having that parent not present for your wedding, that's a pretty big day,” she said. “It's something you dream about, having your mom and dad there.”
Wieringa said the experience has taught her many lessons, especially on privacy on the web.
She’s had new job offers from around the world, but she doesn’t plan to cash in on the experience. The wife and mother of three said she was thrilled to give the bride exactly what she wanted, to be able to include her dad on the day she married her husband Kevin.
“I hope that when people hear the story, that they can really find peace and find closure and happiness in a sad moment,” Eding said. “There’s joy and peace in my heart, knowing that he was there and I was doing something to respect him.”