Granddaughter gave her grandparents a heartwarming photoshoot to celebrate 63 years of marriage
True love can last a lifetime.
Joe Ray, 86, and Billie Wanda Johnson, 83, have been married for 65 years, and their feelings for each other are as strong as ever.
In 2014, to celebrate 63 years of marriage, their granddaughter, photographer Shalyn Nelson, gave them a very special present: a photoshoot to capture their evergreen romance.
Though the heartwarming photos are two years old, they have recently resurfaced because Nelson's grandfather's health has been suffering over the past few months.
Mashable reached out to Nelson to hear more about her grandparents' relationship and the inspiration for the shoot.
Nelson said she wants to "restore the hope of true, lasting love in hearts around the world" and feels that the love her grandparents, Papaw and Mamaw, share will remind others of the true meaning of marriage.
Nelson took the photos in November 2014 at one of her grandparents' favorite places, their ranch in Jewett, Texas.
"I remember when I called my Mamaw to tell her the idea...she kept saying, 'Well, what will I wear Shalyn!'" she said. Though Mamaw was a bit unsure at first, "She went with it, and my Papaw is always down for anything."
Nelson said her grandparents were having such an amazing time that her Papaw even brought his own point and shoot camera to take photographs of her and her friends.
Nelson made sure her Pawpaw wore his spiffy suit, and dolled up her Mamaw with makeup and a beautiful wardrobe. "After all was said and done," she told Mashable Mamaw gave her a huge hug and said, "'Well, that sure was special.'"
"They have taught me the true meaning of marriage," Nelson said. "...My mom tells me how much that day meant to my grandparents. They talk about it all the time."
Nelson said the photos have meant so much to her these past few months as she watched her Mamaw sit by her Pawpaw's side during his hospital visits. "While my Papaw fights to get healthy, it just puts life and love into perspective for me even more than it did before," she said.
To learn more about the photoshoot, which inspired Nelson's project, "Love, The Nelsons" — a compilation of old love stories from couples around the world — check out Nelson's Instagram.
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