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drunk driving

Last summer, Yesenia Aguilar was walking on a sidewalk five minutes from home in Anaheim, California when a drunk driver jumped the curb with her Jeep and struck her. The vehicle narrowly missed her husband, James Alvarez, who was walking beside her. Aguilar was 35 weeks pregnant at the time.

Tragically, Aguilar died at the hospital, but the couple's baby, Adalyn Rose, was delivered via cesarean section and survived. For the past year, Alvarez has poured himself into being a good dad to Adalyn while processing the grief and trauma of witnessing his wife be killed right in front of him.

The story was widely covered in the news and many people have followed Alvarez as he shares his life with Adalyn on social media. It's now been a year since the accident, and the birthday photos Alvarez has shared of Adalyn's first birthday are touching people deeply.

With the help of X & V Photography, Alvarez has recreated a photoshoot he and Aguilar did not long before the accident. Aguilar was dressed in a pink gown, with her baby bump featuring prominently in the photos. In the new shoot, Alvarez dressed Adalyn in a pink dress as well and posed her in the places her mother was in the previous one.

The effect is sadly touching and achingly beautiful—a reminder of the gift of life.

It's hard to imagine what range of emotions this shoot brought up for Alvarez.

It's also hard to imagine how Adalyn will process the whole story when she's old enough to understand.

But what a beautiful tribute to the woman who gave her life before hers was taken.

"Adalyn, I know if your mommy was here, she would have been the happiest person alive," Alvarez wrote in an Instagram share of the photo shoot. "She would be so excited to celebrate your birthday. That's why, I'm making sure I fulfill her wishes and wish the happiest birthday ever baby. Your mommy and daddy loves you."

It's the hardest thing to make beauty out of tragedy, but these photos prove it's possible. Happy birthday, little Adalyn.