Life can be unfair at times. This is one of those times. I just learned today that one of my old clients, who has since become a friend, passed away last night. She just turned 30 years old and had four little boys and a wonderful husband. I was holding out hope that she would kick this cancer thing again, but this time it took over her whole body and wouldn’t go away.
Where do I begin…
Jennifer always had a smile on her face and could talk your ear off. She stayed positive until the very end. There aren’t many people like her in the world. She was one of the special ones.
I met Jennifer for the first time when she contacted me to take some photos of her first little baby boy in 2008. We hit it off immediately. She was from Canada as well, so we had that in common. We talked and talked and talked. Here she is during that first photo shoot:
We became friends from that moment on and never lost touch. The next time I had her in front of my lens was when she was pregnant with her second son. She wanted some pregnancy photos and I was happy to help. She let me do whatever I wanted and practice different things. I was still new to the photography business back then so I was continually building my portfolio. She trusted me and let me do whatever I wanted. She once told me that she felt so fortunate that she found me when I was just starting out so she was able to get so many beautiful photos. She always had a kind thing to say. Here she is during that pregnancy shoot with baby number two:
A few days later I wanted to try a couple more things including more photos with her first son:
One baby shower later and before we knew it the stork brought this little guy:
Once Jennifer recovered from the birth and the new baby stage, she came back to get some photos done with her new little man:
Then just before I moved away from Darwin to Canberra, she had to stop by one last time to get some more photos done:
This is the way I remember Jen. Always with a smile on her face.
It wasn’t long after I moved to Canberra that she told me she had breast cancer. I was shocked. She was so young. You’re not suppose to get breast cancer when you’re in your twenties. That shouldn’t happen. She didn’t let it win though. She fought hard and after many treatments and lots of surgeries, she came out the other side ready to kick butt. It was about 2.5 milliseconds after she was clear of the chemo that she fell pregnant with her third son. It was a frickin’ miracle. The doctors told her that she probably wouldn’t be able to have any more kids after everything she went through. She wanted more though, and she was blessed. Not only with one more, but two. She liked to prove the doctors wrong and we loved her for it. So, here she was….four little boys, taking university courses online, being a super mom, always baking/cooking/party planning/fundraising/raising the kids by herself when the army took her husband away for work….she was amazing.
Seven months ago, I had a feeling something was wrong and so I messaged her and asked what was up. She told me her cancer was back and the doctors were only giving her 3-6months to live. It was terminal. It was in her brain, bones, and blood. I couldn’t believe it. This couldn’t be happening to this amazing woman. She still had so much she wanted to do with her life, including raising her children. She said she was hoping to prove the doctors wrong again. I believed she would. She survived longer than they thought she would. She packed the last seven months full of family and fun. She made as many memories with her family as she could before it was too late. She took a billion photos in the process. This will be the best gift she will be able to give her children.
You touched so many lives Jen. You were an amazing woman and you will be missed dearly. Thank-you for being you. I’m so happy we met and were able to become friends. Your spirit will forever shine in the hearts of those you touched. Love you!