Human Suffering At The End Of Life – Is It Necessity, Pointless Or Cruel?

Sippy Cup

 

Fine Art Photographer and  Writer Polly Gaillard is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography.  From her project ‘December And Everything After‘.  To see Polly’s portfolios click on any image.

 

Father's Day

Father’s Day

 

December and Everything After is a project about my aging parents, and more recently, about the steady decline in my mother’s health since she was diagnosed with a slow growing abdominal sarcoma in 2014.

 

Dad's Brace

Dad’s Brace

 

Evening On The Porch

Evening On The Porch

 

Brace Bedroom

Brace
Bedroom

 

Over the last five years, my mother had a stroke that exacerbated her dementia, she had a compound fracture to her wrist that never healed appropriately, she had a hip fracture and rods installed for hip support, and finally, she was diagnosed with cancer.  She was too weak for surgery or treatment for the cancer, so my parents opted for hospice, opioids and a healthcare worker.  It has been a constant rain and slow flood of health issues for mom over the past four years.

 

Bruise From Fall

Bruise From Fall

 

Scars And Diapers

Scars And Diapers

 

Winter Bath

Winter Bath

 

After her cancer diagnosis and her extreme mental and physical decline, I had conflicting feelings trying to photograph my mother.  It felt like an invasion of privacy, it made me question my own ethics about exploitation, and it made we wonder why the suffering of my mother was something I wanted to remember through imagery.  Wasn’t it enough to witness it with my own eyes?

 

DNR

DNR

 

Recently, I made a conscious decision to pick up the camera and expose my mother’s suffering for what it is, a tragedy.  I’ve come to see the necessity in dialogues about end of life issues, assisted suicide, and the sad state of affairs in healthcare for the elderly.  I’ve decided to share the imagery in an effort to question human suffering at the end of life, is it necessity, pointless or cruel?  Obviously, I’m clearly trying to reconcile it through the camera.

 

See also:

Pressure Points

By Polly Gaillard

 


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