In January of 2018, 92-year-old Jean Roper, from Alabama, was given a terminal prognosis. She was dying of kidney failure and had only a few short weeks to live.
But a new addition to her family, the baby girl who would extend the family into an extraordinary five generations, sparked a miraculous turn of events. Jean’s 21-year-old great-granddaughter, Amber Harris, was about to give birth to her first child, Jean’s first great-great-granddaughter.
Amber’s sister, 24-year-old Kayla Tracy, told Jean that the new baby was going to be named in her honor. “She’s always been the heart of our family,” Kayla said.
After learning that the baby was a girl and about the glorious addition of the naming in Jean’s honor, Jean herself became living proof that where there is a will, there is a way. Her condition started to improve. Jean astounded her multi-generational family by summoning remarkable reserves of strength; the imminent arrival of her first great-great-granddaughter proved to be the remedy to conquer all ailments.
Jean’s nine decades of life experience had not been without their sorrows. The 92-year-old and her 94-year-old husband, Edward, had three children. However, they lost their eldest son to the same disease that was threatening Jean’s own life, and Jean suffered from profound depression as a result.
Yesterday I photographed something very special. My great grandmother and grandfather meeting my niece for the first time. I can't help but share this moment, so much love. So many tears were shed. ❤️
The couple’s children gifted them with seven grandchildren, who brought with them huge joy and respite, and the list branches out into a bountiful family tree: Jean and Edward have 11 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren.
Historically, almost all of the family’s new arrivals have been male. Hence, the arrival of a baby girl was a long-awaited miracle that Jean simply couldn’t bear to miss.
“She was over the moon with excitement,” Kayla shared. “She kept telling everyone, ‘I just want to live long enough to see that baby girl.’”
And live she did.
Baby Magnolia Jean was born on Jan. 21, 2018, and little did she know that in doing so, she had kept a loving, tight-knit family together for longer than they ever could have dreamed. “She absolutely helped me to survive and pull through my diagnosis,” Jean shared, in the happy wake of Magnolia’s birth. A beautiful collection of photos taken by Kayla, a photographer, captured the moment that Jean met and held baby Magnolia for the very first time.
“So many tears were shed,” Kayla wrote.
Jean’s first great-great-granddaughter’s extraordinary effect on her health imbued the 92-year-old with a brand-new joie de vivre, and on March 5, 2018, Jean and Edward celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. Overjoyed family and friends toasted the couple’s many decades of happy marriage and Jean’s miraculous thwarting of her terminal prognosis.
These hands have prayed over many people. They have held, rocked, and taken care of babies and children. They have wiped…
“They have held, rocked, and taken care of babies and children,” said Kayla, in a moving tribute to her great-grandparents on the occasion of their anniversary. “They have wiped tears from faces. They have held people up. They have held rings for a lifetime that represent their vows and promises.”
“I am so blessed and so thankful to call them mine.”