This is a story that has taken a while for me to write, a story of one of the best people I have ever had the had the pleasure of meeting.
I intended to forget the chronological order of things and launch with posting of the untimely passing one of the most beautiful people, both inside and out. I’m starting this blog post on the day she passed, continuing to write it on what would have been her 32nd birthday, but I am finishing it much later. Shoot-Scoop became a second thought, and I always promised Alexis I would blog her wedding & I knew she was waiting for it. Time passed. As time passed the blog seemed further and further away. Life and events took precedence and I became all-consumed with it and blogging just seemed like the icing on the cake. I really missed blogging but refused to re-launch Shoot-Scoop without a proper blog post of the love story of Alexis & Steven.
Alexis. Timeless, classic beauty.
Now, I’m fairly confident a majority of you will agree that many people come in and out of our lives every day without major affect on each other…not to say that we don’t appreciate the kindness of strangers…a simple holding-open of an elevator door, saying “thank you” with a wave when a driver lets you cut in front, etc. We go through life meeting new acquaintances, shooting many events and trade shows, I’m introduced to people en masse, which I genuinely feel is part of the very fiber of my soul. Even if we don’t end up being the best of friends, I’m intrigued and inspired by people and connections are what inspire me. As I am sure most of you will be able to relate – every so often you meet someone that you will not only never forget, but you truly cherish meeting. Alexis Joy Micale D’Achille was one of these people.
Alexis was a referral from Kelle, a bride of mine-turned-friend. When Alexis first called, we vibed instantly. This was the type of potential client that every photographer would love to hear from – euphoric about her wedding, positive energy, enthusiasm, intelligence & a true appreciation for art and the creative process…what photographer’s would consider a perfect subject. Alexis hired me immediately over the telephone and we started planning her engagement shoot immediately. Alexis and her then-fiance Steven and I worked together in Philadelphia for their engagement shoot and we had great chemistry – and I was lucky enough to document theirs. Being able to bare witness and create art out of connections is a calling and a blessing. Love what I do.
I knew the moment I met Alexis and Steven in person that they had a very special & unique relationship and was immediately drawn to their love for each other & their sense of humor.
After their engagement session, Alexis and I worked together for a second time for a CATWALK Shoot – a timeless beauty, with confidence & humor. She was open, honest, hilariously fun to be around and a pure joy to work with.
As for Alexis, both her love of Steven and his for her was bountiful. On their wedding day I bared witness to family and friends. The families were beautiful and kind – a true testament to how Alexis and Steven grew up, and they just exuded warmth. The Bride wore a St. Pucci gown and the smile of a princess. I met many of Alexis’ family and friends that day and there was no denying each one of them had an unmistakable bond with Alexis. I became friendly with several of her friends after the wedding and subsequently worked with many of them – and one thing is certain – a bond of this magnitude between women is not common and is is to be admired. She was the envy of many, myself included, in the most admiring of ways, of course.
Alexis and Steven relocated to Pittsburgh after their wedding, and I was happy that she and I kept in touch periodically to catch up. This past August, Alexis gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl, Adriana. And on October 10, 2013, Alexis passed away due to acute onset of postpartum depression and ended her own life. Her Facebook Page flooded with emotional messages of heartbreak. This woman was truly loved by all.
My heart aches not only for her adoring husband Steven and Adriana and their families but for everyone who was touched by knowing Alexis – because to know her was to love her, and to have her not on this Earth is sad. I know that she is an Angel now, one of the BEST, who’s beauty and light will shine on through her daughter.
Knowing how full of life Alexis was, I am positive she would wish for all of us to celebrate her life. I’m here to give you a visual story of the time period I was blessed to record.
I: Stephen & Alexis: Engagement
Alexis, the beautiful Bride-to-be!
Shameless shoe shot ;-).
Philadelphia’s City Hall
I: Alexis: Creative Shoot
III: The big day.
Huge thanks to Roman Francisco for being my Associate Photographer on this special day. Always awesome working with you.
Alexis’ family owns several McDonalds Franchises, in lieu of favors, the family made a considerable donation to the Ronald McDonald Foundation, and received a surprise visit!
Scrolling through these photos I remember her love and light. It was a true honor to spend the time that I did with her. I know she is helping her Husband, and daughter every day with support and guidance. Steven then made it his mission to turn her passing into positive action and founded The Alexis Joy Foundation, which has recently paired up with Allegheny Health Network to assist in creating awareness and treating mothers with PPD.
Content that follows is courtesy of the Alexis Joy Foundation & Allegheny Health Network:
“Alexis was also born to be a mother. Which is why she and her husband Steven were thrilled to welcome their baby girl Adriana to the world in August of 2013. Throughout her pregnancy, Alexis was her usual, happy self. So excited to meet her daughter, making every preparation and accounting for every detail (in true Alexis fashion).
From the moment Adriana arrived, Alexis seemed stressed. Once home, she felt out of control, with anxiety beyond the “normal” new mom worries. Though she sought help, she was not able to get the relief she needed from what was now obviously postpartum depression.
Clearly not seeing any other way out, she took her own life on October 10th, 2013 just 6 weeks after Adriana’s birth.
The way Alexis died was not the way she lived. She had a doting husband, a beautiful daughter, gorgeous home, great family and friends, and a fulfilling career – everything a girl could hope for. That’s why her passing was so tragic and unexpected. If she could feel that lost and alone, any woman can.
In the weeks after, Steven decided he would make it his mission to do what he could to stop something like this from happening again…To create a legacy for Adriana to carry on in her mother’s name.
Here is where we honor her. Where we use her story to make a difference. So no other woman feels alone with PPD or gets turned away from the help she needs. So no other family has to struggle to carry on. Where women and families can come together to recognize and recover from PPD.
Alexis was truly a joy to the lives she had touched. Her husband, Steven D’Achille, would want everyone to remember her as the light of his life.” Feel free to leave some thoughts on this page below in the “comments” section.
For more information regarding postpartum depression and how you can help, please visit:
For an overview of PPD and it’s symptoms, please visit here.