Debra Redzinski Salinas

Joe Glickman, the Best Man at my wedding and a freelance writer who’s contributed to The New York Times, said that a human being’s life can typically be defined by six photographs: as a toddler, your High School graduation, your wedding, the birth of your kids, a major anniversary, and the photo that accompanies your obituary.   As photographers we never imagine that the images we create at someone’s wedding would, less than two months later, serve as their obituary photo…

Spend a day photographing someone’s wedding and you become friends…spend a week photographing a couple’s destination wedding and you become even more.  Last November we traveled to Mexico to photograph the destination wedding of Danny & Deb from New Jersey.  We hadn’t met them, and our first face-to-face meeting was over drinks at the resort bar.  They were obviously deeply in love and had a great energy between them.  This kind of chemistry always makes our job a pleasure, and we looked forward to photographing their celebration.

Ninety of Danny & Deb’s closest friends and family flew down to Mexico to celebrate their wedding.  I apologize for being cliché, but it was truly a storybook wedding: it was a meaningful ceremony overlooking the ocean followed by a wild night of dancing, celebrating the newlywed’s future together.  Speeches were made and glasses were raised, including the Best Man (hilariously) detailing Danny’s three-year quest to get Deb to go out with him.  Everyone had a great time, and danced well into the night…and eventually ended up in the pool.

59 days after the wedding Deb died suddenly of a brain aneurysm – she was 29.  Cerebral aneurysms occur more commonly in women than in men, by a ratio of 3:2.    Roughly 1/3 of people with ruptured aneurysms die before they get to the hospital, 1/3 die after they get to the hospital, and 1/3 survive.  Of those who survive, about half suffer some permanent neurological deficit.  We encourage you to click here to view the risk factors for brain aneurysm.

In closing,  I wanted to pass along this note from Danny:

“Deb was in great health, so my biggest fear was something happening to her on her drive to work.  I would tell her every morning to drive safe, and, of course, that I loved her.

I was at work on Monday, January 11, 2010, when I got a call from Deb while she out running errands after work.  It was around 4:30pm.  She said: “Babe, I don’t want you to worry, but I just threw up and my head kills.  I just called [a friend from work] to pick me up.  I don’t feel like talking because of my head.  I love you.”  Shortly thereafter I received a call from Debbie’s friend that Debbie was unconscious and being transported to the hospital.  I arrived from NYC one hour later to learn that she had suffered a devastating brain aneurysm that led to massive intracranial hemorrhaging.  Debbie was in the deepest of comas, and died around 11:30pm with roughly 30 family and friends by her side.

I will miss her so much.  I will never get to share a new moment with her, I won’t get to see her as the amazing mom that she would have been, and I won’t get to grow old with the woman I loved with all my heart; and the sadness I feel because of this is immeasurable.  But, I know that Debbie will forever be with me.  She will be with me in my heart and in the way I live my life.  Debbie was the most loving, caring and selfless person that I have ever known and, because of her, I will be a better person.”

This blog post was written with encouragement from Danny Salinas…you are in our thoughts…

  • summer - I am so touched by the pictures and the lovely note from Danny. Thank you so much for sharing and bringing awareness to this issue. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Christin - What a truly sad story. I can’t imagine the hurt that Danny and the family must be continuing to face. Your work was beautiful and I hope it leaves the family with the wonderful memories of Deb’s happiest day.

  • Rich & Suzanne - We love Debbie. Always will. She was and is our Angel. Never a cross word, never a doubt that she lived for her family. She and Dan took breathtaking pictures during their wedding weekend. We were privileged to be a part of their celebration. Soar with the angels, Debbie Lynn.

  • Leonard Anderson - I photographed a high school senior friend of my daughter and he was killed in an accident less than 30 days later. He was two blocks from his home. His parents used one of his senior photos on his grave marker. I understand the empty feeling from this type of incident.

    Leonard Anderson

  • Kimberly Marciante - Looking at these pictures, it’s obvious how stunningly beautiful Debbie was. Those of us that knew and loved her know of the inner beauty she possessed. Her light shined so bright, words cannot describe. Her warm heart touched everyone around her. I just miss her so much.

  • Jerry Franklin - The photographs reflect a love like no other. I have lost plenty in my life, but not a love as deep as what you captured through your lens.

    It is a gift you have and you use it well.

  • Danny - This is obviously a very hard time for myself and Deb’s family and friends, but I am forever grateful for Nels and Anna, who do such amazing work. Deb was beautiful inside and out, and it means the world to have these beautiful pictures. Thanks to all for your love and support.

  • Doris Salinas - Grandfather Harry and I were honored to be part of the wedding celebration of Danny and Deb’s beautiful wedding. We knew Debbie to be a beautiful, caring, warm and loving young lady who loved family and friends. You could see the electricity and love between them and this photographer certainly captured their love in his lens. Danny will have lasting and beautiful memories of their short life shared together. Debbie will be the brightest angel in heaven. We love you Danny and wish we could kiss your pain away, but time will do that. Love Doris

  • Uncle Lou and Aunt Carole - Nels and Anna – You did a great job of capturing the images of Deb and Dan’s happiest day. We were tagging along with you while you shot most of the trash the dress photos and were very impressed with your work. We couldn’t wait to see the images. We loved Debbie as a child for her sweet pure heart and child like sweetness that she never lost as an adult. Debbie’s sparkling blue eyes and bright smile revealed what was in her heart. We appreciate every minute that we were lucky enough to spend with her and will forever remember those times. We will love her forever. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think of the pain that Danny, Linda, Rich, Suzanne, Michelle, Sandy and all of Deb’s family and friends are experiencing. Our prayers and thoughts are with you. We love you all.

  • Baha Tuncer - Years after working together, I was cleaning my email inbox and wanted to get back in touch.. Shocking news that she is no longer with us.. I have no other words.. May Deb rest in peace.. as proven by her angels do not always have wings.. Baha

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