My grandmother entered hospice in February when she reached the final stage of dementia. I decided to honor the experience of her final days by photographing as much as I could of how she spent them. She passed away on March 29, eighteen days after my last visit and seventeen days after the nursing home instituted a ban on visitation that is still in place.
I purchased a used Nikon 135mm Nikkor f/2 D D/C for this project, and I am so glad that I did, as the quality of the photographs would not have done justice to the moments I witnessed with a lesser lens.
After Grandma passed, and we held her socially distanced, streaming funeral, I collected the photos into a small book that I distributed to my aunts, cousins, and siblings.
This post is an online version of that book. I hope it can serve as a source of comfort for those who are experiencing grief in these strange, wretched times.
It begins with a diagnosis, and silent agitation glimpsed only in the restless movements of her hands.
This journey started earlier, though, with a forgotten name here, a fond memory fading there.
Still, there was joy. And song. And family.
Hospice means sometimes getting a little more help with things like breathing and getting around.
Nothing brought out her smile more than talking to family.
Nothing soothed more than their touch.
Even amidst the bittersweet visits before the lockdown began...
Still, there was joy.
Joy, and perhaps peace.
In the end, there was only peace.