Father recreates maternity shoot with daughter after wife’s tragic death

James Alvarez celebrated his daughter Adalyn’s first birthday by asking the same photographer to capture them in a shoot reminiscent of some of the final photos of his late wife Yesenia Aguilar

Rachel Sharp
Monday 25 October 2021 19:47
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<p>James Alvarez with his late wife Yesenia Aguilar (left) and with his daughter Adalyn (right)</p>

James Alvarez with his late wife Yesenia Aguilar (left) and with his daughter Adalyn (right)

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A single father has made a touching tribute to his late wife by recreating her maternity photo shoot with their daughter one year after her tragic death.

James Alvarez celebrated his daughter Adalyn Rose Alvarez-Aguilar’s first birthday by asking photographer Grisel Leyva to capture them together in a shoot reminiscent of some of the final photos taken of his wife.

Yesenia Aguilar died after an alleged drunk driver plowed into her and Mr Alvarez while they were walking through Anaheim, California, in August 2020.

Ms Aguilar was 35 months pregnant at the time and died.

Adalyn miraculously survived after she was delivered by emergency caesarean.

Just one month before the tragedy, the expectant couple had taken part in a maternity shoot with Ms Leyva in a park.

Ms Aguilar wore a flowing pale pink dress and is seen in one image perched on a tree while Mr Alvarez affectionately cradled her baby bump.

One year on, Mr Alvarez asked the same photographer to relive that shoot with him and his daughter Adalyn.

In it, the father and daughter returned to the same spot in the park at the same time of day and recreated the same poses he and his wife had prior to her death.

Little Adalyn looked every inch like her mother in a pale pink dress while sitting on the same tree.

Yesenia Aguilar in her maternity shoot (left) and her daughter Adalyn recreating the shoot (right)

Mr Alvarez told ABC’s Good Morning America the shoot was “very emotional” for him as it marked the first time he had stepped foot back in the park since Ms Aguilar’s unexpected death.

“It was just it kind of like, in a sense, like, she wasn’t gone. She was there with me,” he said.

The grieving husband described his daughter as a “a true definition of a miracle” and told how he had kept many of his wife’s clothes so that Adalyn can come to know her mother when she is older.

“When my daughter is old enough to understand, I can show her all those beautiful items, memories, so she can kind of have an idea of who she was really was,” he said.

Expectant parents James Alvarez and Yesenia Aguilar in the shoot last year (left) and Mr Alvarez with daughter Adalyn recreating the shoot this year (right)

This is the second time Mr Alvarez has drawn attention to the dangers of drink driving since his wife’s passing.

Last October, two months after his daughter was born and as he was adjusting to life as a single father, he had enlisted Ms Leyva for a newborn shoot of Adalyn.

The shoot – something Ms Aguilar had been excited to have with her daughter – featured tributes to the baby’s mother with her favourite flowers and her wedding veil.

When Mr Alvarez shared those heartwrenching photos on social media with the caption “Don’t drive under the influence”, they went viral.

Now, more than one year on from Ms Aguilar’s death, Mr Alvarez admitted it can be tough being a single father.

“It can be a challenge but life is full of challenges and it’s a matter of how you face them,” he said.

“I would tell any single fathers that are in similar situations, it’s a blessing to be a parent, and even though it [can] be scary, be blessed for the opportunity to be a father and to enjoy every single minute that you possibly can with your child because you have no idea what kind of bond you can build with your children.”

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