Photographing Louise was such a moving experience. It was a day filled with lots of laughter and a even few tears. After Lucie had finished her hair and makeup and she was looking wonderful, she wanted to read The Night Before Mother’s Day to me before we began her portrait session. She had the book with her to read to her grandchild. It was a beautiful story about a mother anticipating the “joys” of Mother’s Day, how much women do and how often the rest of the family will not realise. I honestly can’t remember the last time that someone read me a book! It took me back to being a little boy and having my parents read me stories before I would go to sleep. Thank you Louise.
What does beauty mean to you?
I think I overuse the words “beauty” and “beautiful”, but beauty to me is not solely about how a person looks. The most beautiful people in my life act in beautiful ways. Real beauty is not how we look in the photos following makeovers and posing in just the right way. Real beauty is something like the compassion shown by Michael to give 30 of us the confidence of an everlasting feeling of looking beautiful – long after the coach is a pumpkin once again.
What makes you feel most beautiful?
A compliment or an acknowledgment of the effort I have made to get ready can be heart-warming and change the course of the day. The unconditional look of love in the eyes of my granddaughter Poppy, fills my heart with a feeling of beauty that brings tears to my eyes.
What do you love about yourself?
I love that I am happy and that I am a glass half full person. I love to laugh and I love to make people laugh. I love that I am surrounded by people who laugh with me.
Tell me your story
I’m feeling very overwhelmed about being chosen, especially after reading the stories of some of the women that have already participated. I entered because I have Parkinson’s disease which is having a horrific impact on my physical appearance and abilities and I am often startled by how I look. This month I will cease work after 21 years in Children’s Services and will soon surrender my driving licence. This loss of independence is challenging. I wanted a photo that reflected me, not the ugly characteristics of Parkinson’s. However as I articulate this I sound vain and ungrateful. I’m not. I am more than blessed that I am surrounded by family, friends and workmates who let me believe that I am free of all the physical characteristics of the disease. There is so much I can and will achieve, and if my photo and story can help other women with Parkinson’s feel that they too can be beautiful then I will achieve more than I thought possible.
What do you think was the biggest turning point in your life?
I have had many turning points and each one has changed the course of my life. The unexpected and sudden death of my young mother, children, marriages, step children, grandchildren, travel, work, Type 1 Diabetes, always a feeling of never being what everyone wants or achieving enough in a day. The Parkinson’s diagnoses was big but probably the biggest was in 2014 when I was resuscitated and not expected to survive from Diabetic Ketoacidosis.
What are you most grateful for?
I am grateful for every day of my life and for all the people who are a part of my life. I have much to be thankful for.
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
I am full of pride from the accomplishments of the people in my life, The loved and loving relationships I have with my family and friends are my greatest accomplishment.
What is your most treasured memory?
I have enough treasured memories to fill the page. I hope I have created treasured memories for my children and grandchildren.
What advice would you give to yourself when you were a teenager?
Have the confidence to wear what you like, listen to music you like, eat what you like, believe in and stand up for yourself. Be confident enough to be different and do what you know in your heart feels right.
What do you value most in a friendship?
Acceptance and understanding. Support. Laughter. Listening. Honesty. Trust and truth. Caring and love.
Please finish the statement
“I am a person who…” is so fortunate to have the life that I have.