By George Stephens • 11 November 2019 • 13:02
A young widow poses in her wedding dress every anniversary to remember her deceased groom who passed away after just two years of marriage.
Vanessa Lanktree, 29, was devastated when her high school sweetheart Eric, 25, died in a motorbike accident two months after their second wedding anniversary.
Photographer Vanessa now takes pictures of herself in her bridal gown every year to honour her husband’s memory.
This year Vanessa asked her new boyfriend Kurtis Isbister, 29, to take pictures of her wearing the dress and rubber boots in a field of sunflowers.
Vanessa, of Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada, said: “It’s my way of celebrating and remembering that special day and keeping Eric’s memory alive.
“Most people get to go out with their husband for supper or a date night on their anniversary and this is my thing that I get to do without him.
“I try to do it on our anniversary or as close to it as possible. I will probably do this every year for the rest of my life.”
Vanessa and Eric met at school and soon became high school sweethearts.
She added: “We had such an amazing relationship. We met when I was in aged 16 and he was aged 17.
“He was my first boyfriend, my first love. Our relationship through the years was so strong because it started so young. I had no doubt about our lives together.”
Eric, a custom installer and volunteer firefighter, proposed to Vanessa on Christmas Eve 2011 and they tied the knot in September 2012.
Vanessa added: “We got married in a beautiful church ceremony. As I walked down the aisle with my dad, Eric was bawling his eyes out.
“I already knew I wanted to marry him but when I saw him crying, I thought how lucky I was.
“The best part of our day was being surrounded by our family and friends. At the reception, we did not leave the dance floor. If anyone wanted to see us or talk to us, they had to dance.”
But Eric died in a motorbike accident on November 3rd 2014, while on vacation with friends and his father, Brian Lanktree, 55, in Las Vegas.
Vanessa said: “Eric always went down to Vegas for the SEMA car show. That year they decided to rent motorbikes and head down to California. The accident happened on the way back.
“Eric was an hour outside of Vegas and there was a head-on collision with a truck that took his life. I couldn’t believe it.”
When Brian called Vanessa and told her that Eric had been airlifted to a hospital, she held out hope for her husband’s life.
She said: “I thought it would be alright. I kept thinking: ‘He is strong. He is a fighter’. I didn’t realize how severe it was.
“I was packing my bag to go to Vegas because I thought he’d need to see me when he woke up.
“When my father-in-law called me and told me that my husband had passed away, I just threw my phone and walked out of the house.”
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