A visual record of the last forty months of my mom’s life.
40 MOONS is a response to the death of my mom from Parkinson’s disease. The personal documents from the end of her life are encapsulated month by month into tangible reminders of our common kinship and biological origin in the cosmos.
The project name corresponds to the last 40 months of my mom’s life as her disease progressed and, like the cycles of the moon, waxed and waned. Science has taught us that the gravitational pull of the moon tugs on the surface of our big, blue oceans until its surface rises up and outward. Mythology and astrology have taught us that the moon is a symbol of subtlety, a luminary that provides light through reflection. As my mom’s death neared she reflected more light. It is my hope that she reached a level of acuity and peace with her final breath.
To make each image, I photographed 3,200 pages of notes and daily records hand written by her caregivers. The entries described the gentle rhythms of her days punctuated with dementia, hallucinations, laughter and worry. This text is carefully layered into each moon becoming more illegible like her own diminishing ability to write. Only small words and phrases become visible upon intimate observation. The moons change in tone, moving from rich and vibrant to a subdued state illustrating the advance of her disease and transition from life to death.
Loss and love, inextricably bound, can also bind us to one another. In its simplest form, a shared experience can create connection, a deeply embedded human desire. Collaborating with my mom’s caregivers, weaving their words together, creates a blueprint of my mom’s existence as she returns to the stars.