"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm. For Love is stronger than Death..."
With her fiance Nick Godwin at her side, 21 year old Katie Kirkpatrick spent much of 2004 undergoing long hours of chemotherapy in an attempt to battle back against an aggressive cancer.
Originally diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002, Katie had managed to keep up with her studies at Rochester College (a small Christian college in Michigan), and even to participate in Lance Armstrong’s Ride for the Roses fundraiser, but she was forced to slow down when the cancer metastasized, with inoperable lung tumor wrapping itself around her pulmonary artery.
As chemo proved ineffective, and her prognosis became grim, Nick and Katie decided to marry.
For all of her weakness, and in debilitating pain, Katie nevertheless was involved with the planning of every detail of her January 11, 2005 wedding. She had to repeatedly have her dress adjusted, due to ongoing weight loss.
With medication to help her keep the pain at bay, and using oxygen and a wheelchair as needed throughout the wedding ceremony and reception, Katie made a beautiful bride, and the couple’s joy is evident in every image.
Katie Kirkpatrick Godwin died just five days after her wedding. She did not permit pain or weakness to prevent her from embracing all she could of her life, and living it out in joy. In this way, she defeated cancer. Her husband, Nick, said of that day, “It was wonderful. It was a dream come true. She was the most beautiful angel ever—just caring and selfless, and such an inspiration to everyone. She was always smiling no matter what happened, no matter what news she got. She was as close to perfect as they come.”
Deep waters cannot quench love,
nor rivers sweep it away.
Were one to offer all the wealth of his house for love,
he would be utterly despised.
–Song of Songs 8:7
These pictures — which have been circulating through the internet and social media since at least March of 2009, when Katie’s father, David, passed away of cancer — were taken by Michigan-based photographer Romain Blanquart.