When I announced the Amazing Mama Giveaway I never anticipated how difficult it would be to choose a winner from the brave & amazing Mamas that many of your nominated! I absolutely LOVE when we encourage one another, maybe that is because I so need that encouragement & reminder that nothing we do to love is ever wasted in my own life so reading these heartfelt and beautiful words about how the mothers around you are inspiring you, loving their kids & families, & facing challenges with grace. When I read the entry Jessica submitted about Jenny and her children I knew she was the winner of the free sunset session to celebrate and mark this season in their lives!
Jenny and her family have had so many challenges and a heart breaking journey over the last few years and we we spoke and I asked her to describe her family she said "we are shattered but whole and resilient." As I learned more I just knew these images came at a perfect time.
Jenny and her husband started their family 14 years ago and have 2 children; Colin & Eleanor. These kids are seriously so.much. fun and they were so joyful, adventurous, & kind during our session, even telling their mom how beautiful she is :) (I know!!). Eleanor has been bravely battling what Jenny describes as "a beastly chronic illness." She is fighting a vomiting syndrome that has meant she missed over 40 days of school just in the last year. As a mom it is heart breaking to watch your child struggle so much with sickness and be in and out of the hospital. During this same time her husband Brian's behavior radically changed and she was devastated and confused that their marriage and family was suffering so much. He was diagnosed with mental health challenges only to find that soon his behavior deteriorated further while living in a nursing home and they learned he was misdiagnosed. After further testing it was discovered that he has Frontaltemporal Degeneration that most likely started 7-8 years ago and for which there is no cure. He is now is hospice and Jenny has had to process that the love of her life will pass away. She shared, "each day was a roller coaster of emotions and my heart is broken into 10,000 pieces." She was in one way relived his behavior was not a complete rejection of her and their children but the news is just so devastating and she had to explain to the children "that Daddy's brain was very sick" and he did love them but was unable to be able to show it any more.
Here is more of Jenny's story in her own words, "This is probably the hardest stuff I have ever been through in my life, but I know there are so many people ready with hugs and memories and laughter. So many people ready to help with Ellie and Colin. Our village is big...I know we will be ok. One day at a time, sometimes one hour, sometimes one breath. We will get through this because of all of you and because of the strong memories of a husband and daddy who passionately loved us while he could. Thank you for loving us."
I think many people think this joy and these smiles must come from a charmed life but they are found deep within suffering and that makes them even more beautiful. We had a sunset session at the beach and my goal was to capture their relationship and the kid's personalities. We celebrate you Jenny & pray blessings over your family and thank you for inviting me to capture your beautiful, messy right now!!
You can learn more about her story in her own words & how to help their family here!