From the minute I met Jean I was so pleased that I had been brave enough to start my photography project. This project was to encourage me to get out there and speak to women in my community that I didn’t know and for them to trust me with the privilege of taking their photograph. Jean welcomed me in to her home. I can honestly say it was the most pristine home I have ever been in, she is the first to admit that she is house proud and takes time to keep her house looking spotlessly tidy. She says that is just the way she is.
As we sat and had a cup of tea Jean told me all about her childhood and own children. Her daughter Rachel who nominated her for this project shared the reasons why Jean was a perfect candidate…
“Mum is a strong woman with a big heart. She has the most prodigious inner strength which she has demonstrated unfailingly throughout all the difficulties she has faced in her life. She has some amazing qualities always positive, passionate steadfast, trustworthy and indefatigable. She has struggled on tirelessly with a lung condition, been through kidney failure and dialysis, cardiac arrest and 2 weeks on a life support machine to name but a few and we still haven’t got rid of her! She copes with everything with a smile on her face and ask her how she is the answer is always ‘marvellous’. What you see is what you get with my Mum, she doesn’t pretend to be anything she is not. She is kind and generous and would give anyone the coat of her back. You can usually hear her loud dulcet tones before you see her, always laughing and talking. She has a unique quality to talk to anyone and usually finds out a strangers whole life story in less than five minutes. She has a fantastic sense of humour which is slightly wicked. Once described by a friend as ‘the salt of the earth’ I think that is a fitting description. It’s been said they threw away the mould when they made my Mum... I say thank goodness there is only room for one Jean!”
Jean has always been a regular church goer and believer in God. However she spoke with such passion about her experience with illness and how it was as though she had experienced an awakening or an enlightenment in her faith “It wasn’t like a bolt of lightening though!” but it has had an impact on her life.
She certainly lives her life to the fullest spending time with her family and living between her home in Buckinghamshire and in Hamburg with her husband.
I for one appreciate how lucky I was to meet her and her five grandchildren are lucky to have her in their lives.