Memorials ~ The Duphorne Family


Getting to know so many families and their stories is, by far, my favorite part of my work. The Duphorne story is one that unfolded during the whole process of getting to know them, and was one I would not forget. Often families call me because they haven’t had portraits done in a while and they want to get some updates. My goal is to get them thinking about their story or legacy and what they want to memorialize.  I often think clients wonder if I am a bit strange over the phone. After all, they simply want some updated pictures of their kids or family, and then I start to bring up words like lasting and legacy. During my initial conversation with Cherie, I began asking about her family and what they enjoyed doing together. The tone in her voice lifted when she began to talk about how much they love to sail. I could hear the excitement in her voice when I said I would love to drive to their yacht club and photograph her family where they have made so many memories together, loving and living life out to the fullest.

On the day of our session, it was a beautiful evening and I could see the joy in each of their faces.  Darin was so proud of his beautiful family and couldn’t wait to show me his sailboat.  The name of their boat is “Necessity.”  Darin is a patent attorney so they got the name from the quote “Necessity is the mother of Invention.”  They named their dinghy/tender “Invention,” and their boat “Necessity,” would be the mother ship to “Invention.”  They also said sailing is a necessity to them, so it was the perfect name.

Both Darin and Cherie were sailors before they met.  Cherie grew up sailing and has very fond memories of weekends on the boat with her family, and Darin was on the sailing team at Texas A&M University. They have actually been members at their Yacht Club since 2002 when they bought their first boat, which was lost in Hurricane Ike. Since they’ve been married, they have sailed from Veracruz, Mexico to Corpus Christi. By far, their favorite place they’ve sailed, is the British Virgin Islands and they look forward to going back with their kids when they get older.

The story continued to unfold as I visited with the family during our order session. I love asking how long couples have been married and how they met.  I am crazy about a sweet love story.  I am not sure I was prepared to hear what she shared and I found myself tearing up on their couch as she talked.  Cherie had just turned 25 when she was diagnosed with bone cancer. She was single and thriving in her education and career. This was a devastating blow. Her parents stepped in to help her as she walked through treatment, and in Cherie’s words she said it was a scary time for them, as they watched their young daughter fight bone cancer.

Cherie finished treatment in July of 1995 and met Darin six months later in January of 1996. They met at church where Cherie could only attend at times when she was able during treatment.  She was just able to walk without crutches and traded them in for a cane.  She was beginning to gain some strength and began working part-time and started to think about “life” again.  Cherie and Darin hung out a lot in a group with other singles in their Bible study class at church. Darin in great health, Cherie in recovery and walking with a cane, but that didn’t deter Darin. They started dating in April of that same year and he proposed to her only ten months later in October of 1996.  I remember Cherie telling me she thought to herself at that time, if he will love me like this, walking with a cane and hoping to recover fully from cancer, he must really love me.  I had an immediate lump in my throat.  Isn’t that what we all want?  Unconditional love, just for who we are, not what we have to offer.

After choosing their images we began to look at the walls in their home for a place to display their wall portrait.  On a main wall in the living room hung a beautiful bridal portrait. You don’t see many bridal portraits still hanging in living rooms after 20 years of marriage. Cherie decided she would replace it with the new family portrait, but still wanted that portrait in view because it meant so much. Her bridal portrait was stunning, and while it looked like a typical setting for a bride, with some white columns behind, she shared with me that it was actually was taken at MD Anderson. This portrait served as a memorial to the miracle God did in her life as a young bride.

I have hung lots of portraits and I wish I could tell you what happens in my heart each time I do. It’s a humble privilege.  Moving her bridal portrait and hanging the new family portrait was a visible picture of God’s faithfulness and hope to me. These two meaningful memorials proudly hang in their home and represent the beautiful story that has unfolded over the years.

When I asked Cherie if I could share her story on my blog, she said, without hesitation, “Of course, it’s God’s story, not mine.”


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  • Bobbye Adams

    Your friend, Kristi Icaza, was very instrumental in God’s plan for these two precious ones to be together. I did the cakes for their beautiful wedding. Not a sweeter couple anywhere! What God joins……♥️

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