Linda Lindsay had long dreamed of watching her daughter Heather Mosher walk down the aisle to marry the man of her dreams. But the big day was bittersweet for the 61-year-old knowing that those special moments with her daughter would be the last.
Heather, 31, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, and David, 35, wed at Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut, on Dec. 22. Heather died just 18 hours later. Her last words were the vows she recited to her husband.
“It’s a hurt like no other. It’s very deep because I never stopped fighting for her,” Lindsay tells PEOPLE. “We expected her to take care of us in our old age, not for this to happen.”
After discovering a lump in her breast, Heather was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer on Dec. 23, 2016, the same day David asked her to marry him. Over the next year, Lindsay watched her daughter’s health deteriorate, but says she was with her daughter every step of the way.
“We never gave up. We kept thinking there’s something else we could do,” she says. “At the end of October, I think we all realized that her time could be shorter than we expected.”
Heather spent the final months of her life at the hospital, where doctors advised the couple to move up their wedding date. They had originally planned a Dec. 30 wedding, but hospital officials warned the couple that Heather likely would not make it until then.
“Heather said, ‘Well, what am I gonna do for Dec. 30?’ And they said, ‘Well, if everything works out you can have a second wedding,’ ” Lindsay recalls. “Heather said, ‘I love him so much, I’ll marry him twice.’ “
In emotional photos of the ceremony, Heather is shown in her hospital bed wearing a wedding gown and veil along with a breathing mask as her mother and father stand at her bedside. Lindsay says Heather had sewn a piece of lace from her late grandmother’s wedding dress into her own gown.
“She was so happy and so beautiful. The tubes and wires just melted into the background and all I saw was love and her dream of marrying Dave coming true,” Lindsay tells PEOPLE of Heather. On the way out, when they were wheeling out her bed, she was blowing kisses to everybody.”
As for the couple, Lindsay says they had an extra special romance.
“She just loved Dave so much and he loved her,” the grieving mother tells PEOPLE. “It was just a great, great love down to their souls.”
The family has started a GoFundMe page in Heather’s honor with donations going to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.