Jessica Tanner Photography » GA Newborn, Baby, Children, Family & Maternity Photographer

Saving Ashley

On September 26 of this last year a terrible tragedy shook my neighborhood.  I got the phone call around 11:00 am.  My close neighbor and friend’s son-in-law, Jarred, had been killed in a motorcycle accident on his way to work.  My heart jumped…my body shook…my limbs all of a sudden felt numb.  Even though I had only met Jarred just a handful of times, all I could think about is “What can I do?!, What do I do?!  I want to help.”  There is nothing that can make it go away, make it less hard, make it pass by faster.  Nothing.  You are left helpless.  I turned to God, and I just prayed.
A few months went by and I received a message from Ashley asking if I could do a photo session in honor of her late husband.  Immediately my mind went blank.  I am a newborn photographer.  Can I do this for her?  Should I be the one for her project?  I remembered my prayer to God.  The one where I asked him to protect the family, to give them strength, and “How can I help?”
This is it.
This is how I am supposed to help, so I immediately went to work.  I have to say that the hardest part was sitting down with Ashley 1:1.  I met her at their house late one evening.  It was so cute, and nicely decorated.  It reminded me of my first house and how proud I was of it.  Molly, their puppy, greeted me at the door…from that point, it struck me.  This is going to be hard.  What do I say?  Am I going to say the wrong thing?  I pretended to be a journalist, getting any information that I could to make this request for Ashley exactly how she needed it to be.  I wanted this to be perfect.

She began to tell her story…

“I saw that sweet boy’s face almost 1o years ago and immediately fell in love.  I was only 15 and didn’t really know what ‘love’ was,  but I knew in my heart that I would marry him.  Little did I know he had the same feelings I did on that very day.   As the years went by we were inseparable.  With a few ups and downs, we always worked it out.  Our love was real. He was always my one true love and my soul mate. Our love grew stronger with each passing day.


We said the words we had been waiting our whole lives for.

‘I Do’

Our journey had just only begun. We did everything together and never did anything without the other. We just had to do it together.

We always knew what to say to the other to cheer them up or to encourage them or just to sit in silence. We were happy and blessed just to be in the same room with each other. We would not have gotten to where we were today if it wasn’t for each other. We had a beautiful home, a puppy, Jarred had a career he loved, and I was going to school to follow my dream. We were almost settled for life…


My life changed forever this Friday morning.  I was awoken by the doorbell ring at 9:15am.  In my pjs, I see two officers at my doorstep.  My head shook ‘no, no, no’  but they continued on to say the worst sentence I would ever hear in my life.  I fell to the floor and cried.  This is a dream, only a dream.  Little did I know I would never wake up from the nightmare.   Jarred was in a fatal motorcycle accident on his way to work where he died instantly at the very young age of 26. There was nothing anyone could do to save him.

I lost my soul mate, my one true love, my best friend, half of myself, and my husband of only a year and a half.  We planned to start a family this Winter and go on that honeymoon we never took after our wedding this Summer.

We had life-long plans that will never come true.

We will never get to celebrate our second wedding anniversary.

We will never get to watch our families grow.

We will never get to grow old together.

We will never, we will never, we will never…

As my world completely stopped the rest of the world didn’t. I was lost, afraid, alone and heartbroken. What was I going to do without him? We didn’t know what to do without one another.

Even though Jarred was taken from me, from us, in such a horrific way, he loved that bike and was so happy and free when he was riding it.  It brought me great joy to see that huge smile he had on his face while riding. I know that he left this earth doing something he just absolutely enjoyed and that brings a smile to my face.  He was always happy, and that always made me happy.

Jarred made me so strong over the years.  I thank him every day for it.  I also thank God for putting Jarred in my life and for letting me know what ‘True Love’ felt like.  God and Jarred are saving me through this nightmare.  I dream about the day when I get to meet him at the Gates of Heaven and he can kiss my tears away and walk me through the streets of gold to show me the home he made for us for eternity.

I can’t wait to hear his heartbeat next to mine, to kiss his lips again, and to make up for so much lost time…”

 saving ashley

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carry his heart


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love ashley



1st, 2nd (Jarred in the mirror) & 3rd photo credits:  Scott Greene Photography.  Thank you Scott for allowing me to use your engagement and wedding photos of Ashley & Jarred to re-create the artwork that she requested.  May God bless your family.  ~ Jessica Tanner

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Kathleen Roberts Bowie - January 28, 2015 - 1:39 am

just beautiful! Tears!

Amanda Downing Moscoso - January 28, 2015 - 2:02 am

Wow Jess! Beautiful pictures, beautiful story!

Rachel Carow Osborne - January 28, 2015 - 2:20 am

What a treasured gift. God worked through you.

Donna Pruitt Hart - January 28, 2015 - 2:37 am

Absolutely broke my heart. Beautifully done…

Jenny Pitcher - January 28, 2015 - 2:40 am

This is absolutely amazing Jessica! <3<3

Desiree Gilmore - January 28, 2015 - 2:42 am

breath taking and beyond words

Tracy Englund - January 28, 2015 - 2:42 am


Marcia Mclean Borden - January 28, 2015 - 3:10 am

What a great

Yvonne DeArmond Chappell - January 28, 2015 - 3:10 am

There are no words….. Love you Ash..

Candy Combs - January 28, 2015 - 3:25 am


Jacque Humeniuk - January 28, 2015 - 3:39 am

Absolutely touching. Beautiful work

Ashley Palmer - January 28, 2015 - 3:42 am


Susan McQueen - January 28, 2015 - 4:18 am

Absolutely beautiful! Love you sweet girl. God’s grace is sufficient.

Lynn Harrell Pittman - January 28, 2015 - 4:26 am

Simply Beautiful.

Lauren Barrentine Johnson - January 28, 2015 - 4:36 am

Beautiful!! Love you Ashley!

Teresa Baugh-Waldrop - January 28, 2015 - 5:30 am


Angie Postnieks - January 28, 2015 - 6:25 am


Christy Hutchins Horrell - January 28, 2015 - 11:14 am


Amy Streck Rundell - January 28, 2015 - 11:45 am


Sheryl Hendrix - January 28, 2015 - 11:46 am

So sweet and tragic and heart felt.

Jackie Johnson Miller - January 28, 2015 - 1:08 pm

Jarrod was one of the BEST bosses Publix ever had. ALWAYS treated people the way he wanted to be treated. Ashley my heart breaks for you over and over, y’all made the best couple.
These photos say everything, absolutely beautiful.

Lily Atangcho - January 28, 2015 - 1:31 pm

My fiancé past away from a fatal motorcycle accident as well. He will always be the man I’m in love with because I have found the one whom my soul loves. My heart is exactly where hers is and I don’t think it’s coincidence I saw this story.

Melissa Boyles - January 28, 2015 - 2:20 pm

Wow, this story really hit my heart. My sister lost her husband of one and half years to a motorcycle accident just days after his 25th birthday. She was 38 weeks pregnant at the time. These photos are beautiful! What a wonderful gift you have given her that she will cherish forever.

Ginger Harrison - January 28, 2015 - 3:11 pm

How beautiful, as I wipe my tears I wish everyone has/had the opportunity to feel the true love between a husband and wife. Thanks for sharing. God Bless!

Donna Moore Gamble - January 28, 2015 - 3:54 pm

Beautiful! So touching.

Lori Meeler - January 28, 2015 - 4:50 pm

Absolutely beautiful!!!!!

Deborah Chatham McManus - January 28, 2015 - 6:09 pm

What a beautiful way to remember the ones you love.You did such a great job.

Mark Oxley - January 28, 2015 - 6:28 pm

You should be proud of yourself Jessica. You accomplished your goal and exceeded it. A warm and touching tribute. God Bless Ashley and hold her tight through this difficult time.

Michelle Whitlock Seawright - January 28, 2015 - 7:04 pm

Beautiful! Heart touching!

Christie Wadleigh Miller - January 28, 2015 - 8:53 pm

Jessica you did such a fabulous job! I am so proud of my daughter for being so strong during all of this! Sometimes I don’t know how she does it! I love you Ashley!

Pam Johnson - January 28, 2015 - 9:18 pm

This is a beautiful tribute. Gorgoeus.

Jody McDaniel - January 28, 2015 - 11:53 pm

those pics are beautiful!

Erin Riske Clark - January 29, 2015 - 4:21 am

Beautiful photographs! What a special gift.

Natali Lynn Altenburg - January 29, 2015 - 4:26 am

Wow. This brought me to tears. My guy was killed on 9/26/12. I would love something like this with our son. 🙁

Sandra Crowe Camp - January 29, 2015 - 4:56 am

Wow beautiful job..Bless her heart..Your strong Ashley for doing this.God Bless you

Bianca Travers - January 29, 2015 - 5:27 am

Omg you did a wonderful job..and im completely overwhelming by that story..

Edys Vergara - January 29, 2015 - 9:09 am

Ashley be strong God Plans are perfect take it as a room to grow. And get closer to God purpose.
To the fotographer.
Great work. Best way to portray love

Corinne Kelley - January 29, 2015 - 11:55 am

I am crying my eyes put right now!!! These are amazing! I am so sorry this happened bit also very happy she experienced a love some never get…but so crappy it was taken from her!

Helen Martinez Danielson - January 29, 2015 - 1:54 pm

May you find the strength to carry on. You can be together for ever.

Shannon Saroli Ochoa - January 29, 2015 - 7:03 pm

I’m speechless and In tears❤️

Carol Mohler - January 29, 2015 - 7:08 pm

Ashley, you don’t know me; I’m Meagan’s aunt. I am so touched by your tribute to Jarred. Meagan never knew Dean; mine and Larry’s brother who was taken from us when Dean was only 29. He lost his battle with cancer and much like Jarred, he left a beautiful bride behind. He was married 26 months before the Lord took him home to be with Him. Yes, it is so VERY
hard to carry on without our loved ones; BUT we WILL see them again. With thoughts and prayers, Carol Lee Mohler

Megan Marquardson - January 29, 2015 - 11:00 pm

These are beautifully done. What a tribute to him. My prayers go out to her.

Michelle Barnhill - January 29, 2015 - 11:45 pm

I am in tears!! Your God given talent shows the raw emotion of how much Ashley loves Jarred. Thank you both for sharing. Ashley, my prayers go out to you and Jarred’s family.

Jamie Lemay Jones - January 30, 2015 - 1:19 am

as i sit here, at my desk, in tears…my heart aches for her so deeply. I too lost my husband very suddenly in 2009..after just 3 short years of marriage and 9 of being together. it immediately took me back to the last time I saw his face, kissed his lips and said to him “have a great day me”. at 11:11 am on july 31, 2009 I got a call, from his best friend/boss saying david had a massive heart attack at work. please give her my love and prayers.

Lynette Colovich Pierce - January 30, 2015 - 2:36 am

Well done. I got looking at the photos, and have to ask, are these in Logan Ut? My sister owns a bed & breakfast / reception center, and these look like her place. Beautiful photos.

Teresita Dominoski - January 30, 2015 - 6:23 am

I lost my husband of 3 years. To say we were madly in love was an understatement. All together we had 3 years and 9 months and they were glorious. I forget sometimes that I am not the only one hurting. I am so sorry for your loss.

Leigh Ann Brock Spencer - January 30, 2015 - 2:37 pm

Jessica, such a tragic story……you captured the memories beautifully….

Amy Hamilton-Peek - January 30, 2015 - 3:23 pm

I can relate so much to this story. These pictures are amazing, I wish I had this idea after I lost my first love.

Elaine Andrews - January 31, 2015 - 5:03 am

Beyond touching and so beautifully done, Jessica. Prayers for Ashley and family.

Raphielle Bowman - January 31, 2015 - 6:47 am

I love the one of his signature on the letter. And how you start far away and get closer so you can see the details. The lighting. The one where she is holding his ring…. Lovely work! Beautiful!

Brandi Keogh Ward - January 31, 2015 - 11:56 am

This article was shared with me by a friend because it so closely resembles my story! I CRIED reading this because I KNOW exactly where her heart is right now. My fiancé was killed in a motorcycle accident on his way to work in September of 2006…our daughter was only 4 weeks old. Like Ashley, I first met Jay when I was 11 and it was our destiny to be together. I too woke up to police at my door on a September morning and that began my NIGHTMARE. I read this tribute and my heart aches for what Ashley is going through because I know this road all too well. What I can say is that 8 years later, I still miss him and I still have a good cry every once in a while but my heart doesn’t hurt constantly any more. This tribute is perfect! I hope her heart hurts a little less with each passing day!

Anna Eastlick - February 1, 2015 - 7:43 am

I truly relate to your story. I found out that I lost my husband in an accident on the same day of last year. We were only married for 14 months. We settled down and were trying to start a family. Just about everything she said I have felt, and still feel. My heart is with you, dear!

Laura Blair Spivey - February 1, 2015 - 6:43 pm

Beautiful photography. I can relate as my husband died in a motorcycle accident on our way back from a family vacation. I was 10 minutes ahead. I will never forget the loud knock, the 2 officers at the door and the message. We had 38 years. I am sorry for

Linda Kay Boggs - February 1, 2015 - 7:53 pm


Tammy Stocker Hannahs - February 1, 2015 - 8:57 pm


Colleen Cournoyer - February 1, 2015 - 9:43 pm

You did an amazing job and such a wonderful tribute to their love.

Brooke Nicole Merola - February 1, 2015 - 10:58 pm

Sitting here in tears. Ashley, this is perfect. And I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that he’s gone.

Darlene Kowal - February 1, 2015 - 11:43 pm

…..angel unaware………you used your amazing gift in such an amazing , uplifting way……….Jessica…don’t ever question why God made you and what one of your purposes in life is! God bless Ashley’s broken heart and mend it. <3

Sandy Pyle - February 2, 2015 - 12:49 am

Absolutely beautiful!

Autumn Chaptini - February 2, 2015 - 1:11 am

This made me tear up I lost my husband to cancer almost 5 years Ago what a great memorial

Denise Williamson - February 2, 2015 - 1:17 am

I can never know the pain you are going through Ashley. God bless you!

Tonya Ryan - February 2, 2015 - 1:25 am

I lost my sole mate in a car accident we were in. I know this pain all to well

Stephanie Lynn - February 2, 2015 - 1:35 am

Omg! This is an amazing story! God works in the most amazing ways. He brought you two ladies together to help each other grow. My heart goes out to Ashley. And Ashley you are lucky to have felt true love and have met your soulmate. He’s watching over you. God Bless!

Jackie Fortson - February 2, 2015 - 1:41 am


Angeline Manteiga - February 2, 2015 - 2:26 am

What a talented and compassionate woman 🙂 I think you did an amazing job. Stay blessed. Beautiful story.

Valerie Rose Reed - February 2, 2015 - 3:08 am

What an amazing gift you were able to give her. God has truly given u an awesome gift with photography.

Lynn Marie Garrison - February 2, 2015 - 3:25 am

Jess. U did a wonderful job. I can’t imagine how emotional it must have been for both of u. This brought tears to my eyes…I am so sorry for her loss. Hopefully this will help her thru her terrible days

Lacy Detlefsen - February 2, 2015 - 3:33 am

Tears!!! I too lost my fiancé in an accident and this brings it all right back!! She will treasure this forever!! What an amazing gift!!!

Laura Manley - February 2, 2015 - 3:38 am

Very nicely done. I also liked the comment of Peggy Lumbard Miller because I have both my parents rings. I miss them dearly. Ashley, this is beautiful.

Christina Seeley - February 2, 2015 - 3:41 am

Heartbreaking. Beautiful pictures.

Deana Combs - February 2, 2015 - 4:01 am

You did an awesome job on this. I will pray for Ashley to be able to go on day by day and to grow stronger.

Barbara Isom - February 2, 2015 - 5:34 am

These photos are absolutely amazing. Ashley, I am so sorry for your loss. It’s very rare to find true love like you’ve experienced. I will be praying for you. Thanks for sharing your story.

Ashley LeClaire - February 2, 2015 - 11:47 am

Beautiful!!!! You’re very talented!

Daniel Riley - February 2, 2015 - 2:47 pm

I think you just broke my heart strings…

Molly Oster - February 3, 2015 - 5:23 am

U r so creative and sensitive!! Amazing! May ur friend find peace…and love once again!!

Victoria Vaughn Farmer - February 3, 2015 - 9:10 am


Carliena Lena Smith - February 7, 2015 - 12:05 am

What a beautifully tragic story, your pictures are breathtaking

Ashley Marvin Gerald Thoresen - February 12, 2015 - 10:07 pm

Absolutely beautiful!

Betty Jackson Rampley - February 13, 2015 - 5:37 am

God bless you Ashley. My prayers are with you sweetie!!