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Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series

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.

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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.

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Postcards from Hospice
Postcards from Hospice
Photo: YSUBassoon

It begins with a diagnosis, and silent agitation glimpsed only in the restless movements of her hands.

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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon

This journey started earlier, though, with a forgotten name here, a fond memory fading there.

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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon

Still, there was joy. And song. And family.

Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon

Hospice means sometimes getting a little more help with things like breathing and getting around.

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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon

Nothing brought out her smile more than talking to family.

Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon

Nothing soothed more than their touch.

Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Even amidst the bittersweet visits before the lockdown began...

Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Still, there was joy.

Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon

Joy, and perhaps peace.

Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon
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Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon

In the end, there was only peace.

Illustration for article titled Postcards from Hospice, a portrait series
Photo: YSUBassoon

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