It was his granddaughter’s wedding that day. It should be joy and happiness. But 71-year-old Billy Gray found himself sitting there, alone, and heartbroken.

In front of a memorial made for his late wife, Barbara, Gray silently ate his lunch. The memorial had the photos of the woman whom he loved and had been spent 45 years with.

His wife died of colon cancer at the age of 64, and the loss still haunts him. 

“It was very unexpected,” the bride, Sahrah Elswick, who captured the moment, told Yahoo Lifestyle about her grandmother’s untimely death. “She was the kindest and sweetest soul I have ever known—she was so proud to be a mom and grandma.”

Elswick later posted the photo to Twitter with a caption that read, “Pawpaw sat and ate with mawmaw today at my wedding.” The photo has been retweeted more than thousand times since Elswick posted it on July 6.

The memorial chair Sahrah Elswick set out at her wedding. (

Gray first met his wife while collecting trash in their Alderson neighborhood. She had been standing outside her home when Gray passed by on his route, and he thought she was beautiful, said Elswick. They were married for 45 years.