Wedding photographer captures parents’ 'most important moment' as he takes pictures of their dying child

By Petrus Malherbe
05 April 2016

Seven weeks after their wedding day, this couple asked their wedding photographer to capture the few days they would have with their baby.

Nancy and Charlie McLean’s son, Edison, died in his parents’ arms seven days after he was born in Sydney, Australia. Days before he died photographer James Day captured the few special moments the newlyweds would have with Edison.

In a blog on his website James says he photographed Nancy and Charlie’s wedding in January. “It was an incredible day. To call their day of celebration a wedding just wouldn’t do it justice. I’d describe it as more of a wedstival.

Read more: Heartbroken mom photoshops dead son into wedding photo “On the wedding day Nancy was about seven weeks shy of giving birth. The baby in her belly was already oh so very loved. It was included and remembered at every turn during the day. It was beautiful to witness.” When the wedding was over James thought he’d never see the McLeans again. But he received a call to say Nancy and Charlie’s baby boy wasn’t doing so well. “They asked if I could drive to Royal Randwick Women’s Hospital as they were going to have to say goodbye,” James says.

Despite having another photo session scheduled for that day James drove to the hospital, in Sydney. When he arrived he kept himself apart from the other people and took photographs from a corner of the ward. He says he didn’t want to intrude. “I wanted to be quick, I knew not to ask, ‘How are you?’ because it was obvious.”

He quickly realised this was no ordinary occasion. Photos would never succeed in completely capturing the moments.

“The words people were saying were just too powerful not to be recorded in some way.”

One relative said Edison had his grandfather’s ears, for example. So James decided to make a video to capture such moments.

James spent more than six hours in baby Edison’s ward with his parents and relatives. Edison died two days later.

He’d suffered from a rare genetic disorder doctors initially couldn’t diagnose. Four days after his birth when it became clear he didn’t have long to live Nancy and Charlie decided to call James.

“Usually I’m asked to help document people’s happiest days – but some of the most important days aren’t always the happiest ones,” James wrote on his Facebook page.

In a tribute to their son Nancy and Charlie shared on James’ blog that Edison was struggling to breathe by the fifth day. “But our little fighter resumed breathing for himself and gave us two more beautiful days where we were blessed enough to be able to take him for a picnic at the beach.”

Edison spent the last 24 hours of his life at his parents’ home and died in their arms three hours before he would have been a week old.

“It’s hard to find the positives in losing your child but Edison has taught us a beautiful lesson that we need to share. Cherish every moment you have with your loved ones. Love them like this is the last moment you will ever have with them. Never wait.”

“We had only seven days with our baby boy but we take immense comfort out of the truth that in those seven days he knew only love.”

Sources: Daily Mail,,

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