When I made this photograph Jen had been using a walker for about 3 months, her legs were getting weaker as the cancer spread. We were on vacation by the ocean and Jen wanted to feel the water...not just rolling over her feet but the waves hitting her body. Jen didn't let cancer stop her from living and loving. She embraced life.
The summer before Jen died we vacationed on Topsail Island with her family. Jen relied on a walker or a cane for the prior 3 months, as her legs were getting weaker. Jennifer loved being in the ocean and she was sad at the thought of not being strong enough to swim on her own. For the first few days of our trip Jen would sit by the edge of the ocean and the waves would roll in over her feet. Near the middle of the week Jen decided she would go in the ocean if her sister Laura and I held her hands. I’ll never forget the sound of Jen’s voice when she said, “Let go.”
I hid my tears of joy behind my camera and watched Jen floating in the ocean, overcoming her fears and not letting cancer keep her from living life.
In 2010, not long after her cancer metastasized, Jen walked across the stage and received her diploma. Jen worked so hard to finish school - Marriage, full-time job and oh yeah, cancer. I was so proud of her.
When I start to get overwhelmed I think about this and I reach deeper inside to find the strength to keep going.
Jen NEVER gave up.