Seventy-five years. That’s how long Jean Roper has been married to the love of her life.
The lovebirds are now in their 90s, but the love they have for each other is stronger and more pure than it ever was.
Together they raised three strong, godly boys, instilling in them the value of a hard day’s work and the importance of family.
But after 75 years, bodies don’t work like they used to. Jean’s body began showing signs of renal failure. When she went to see the doctor, she was told she had just three weeks to live.
“When my family heard this, we prayed harder than we ever have before,” said one of the couple’s seven great-grandchildren, Kayla Tracy.
Kayla’s sister, who was pregnant at the time, decided to quit her job so she could care for her great-grandmother in her final days. Every day Jean would tell her, “I just want to live long enough to see that baby girl.”
Little Magnolia Jean was born at 36-weeks. When Jean heard she had arrived – and that the baby had been named for her – she was so excited. She couldn’t wait to meet her little namesake!
Kayla, a photographer, gathered with the family so she could document Jean meeting her 11th great-great-grandchild.
The moment Jean held little Magnolia in her arms it was love at first sight.
But more than that, it was a miracle.
After meeting Magnolia, something in Jean “flipped.” She started to get stronger and quickly outlived the doctors’ expectations.
On March 5, 2018, nine weeks after doctors gave her three weeks to live, she got to celebrate the 75th anniversary of her marriage to her beloved.
On Sunday, the couple got gussied up and went to Cracker Barrel to celebrate. Kayla met up with them so she could take some special anniversary pictures.
“After being on bed rest from her diagnosis, great-grandmother didn’t feel beautiful any longer, even though we all told her how beautiful she still looked,” Kayla said.
“The day I took these anniversary photos of them, I told her I was going to meet them at their home after they ate lunch so they were still dressed to the nines and she couldn’t say no!
“When they got out of their car, I could tell she felt beautiful! She was fluffing her hair constantly and asking me if her makeup looked good! I told her, ‘You look beautiful, you are beaming with love.’ She replied, ‘That’s good, I’m glad I’m still beaming with love after 75 years.’”
At one point, Kayla asked her great-grandmother to kiss her great-grandfather so she could get a sweet photo. Jean blushed and just gave Kayla a big smile.
“Alright, I won’t look!” Kayla said.
That’s when Jean reached up and planted a sweet kiss on her husband’s cheek.
“Glad I at least got that perfect shot!” Kayla said.
The family doesn’t know how much longer they will have with Jean, but they do know the extra weeks they’ve had are a miracle and that every day is a gift.
How precious to be able to make these beautiful memories together while they still can!
“Taking these photos is one of the many reasons I became a photographer,” Kayla said. “To be able to pause these moments for my family and for them, means everything to me. I enjoy photographing them every second I get.
“I am so blessed to have been able to capture such true love. Such a love I can only hope for with my husband. I want everyone to see these photos and know, true love is real.”
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