You never know whom you run might into in your journey through life. Sometimes those you encounter can leave an impression.
Mrs. Doud and I found that out Friday when we met Jennifer Trader-Macias of Jackson, which is in Calaveras County, northeast of Stockton.
Jennifer is a photographer with LifeTouch, a company that makes up photographic church directories. I had to sign a release that made me responsible if the lens broke when Jennifer was taking my photo.
I noticed she had an accent, one I didn’t recognize.
“Where are you from?” I asked.
“I was born in Spain,” she said. “I went through the third grade there. Then we came to the United States.”
Although it was tough on her, learning a new language, she caught on quickly, and became a good scholar. “I made it through high school in three years.”
She said she wanted to be a pilot, trained to be one, and advanced to where she could fly a twin-engine Cessna.
“But they found an aneurism in my brain stem,” she said. “I have to wait 10 years until I can fly again.”
The aneurism almost killed her, she said.
“I was paralyzed” after the operation to treat the aneurism, she said. “Even now, I sometimes can’t feel anything here.” She ran her finger along her right forearm. “It just goes numb.”
And then, she said, there are the migraine headaches.
“I get them all the time. Mostly, I can ignore them, but sometimes they make me sick.”
She said the condition that caused her aneurism turned out to be hereditary, and when she became pregnant with a boy, she was told he probably would die soon after birth, and might not have a brain. She was four months along with that baby when she learned that awful news.
“I made the decision to carry him through,” she said. “I tried to hold him inside as long I could ... I carried him about 11 months.”
When the baby boy was born, he indeed was as the doctors said he would be — without a brain stem.
“He lived 19 hours,” she said. “I got to hold him. I was so happy. I have pictures of him. But he went home early.”
Did she have other children? She smiled: “Four daughters,” she said, “all very healthy.”
She said she travels throughout the West taking photos for LifeTouch.
When we receive the photos she took of us, we will have the additional blessing of her story in our hearts. And as far as I know, the camera lens remains intact.