A visual record of the last forty months of my mom’s life.
Carl Sagan, astronomer and astrophysicist, reminds us that humans have evolved to wonder and to understand that we are actually "starstuff pondering the stars, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is a prerequisite to survival." I hope to bridge the intensely personal with the universal by creating images that contemplate human existence in relation to our biological origin in the cosmos.
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. The moon waxes and wanes, shifting and progressing through a cycle of light and dark. A waning moon illustrates the ideas of release and contemplation where a waxing moon can represent growth. A new moon speaks of a rebirth and a full moon is symbolic of the height of power and the peak of clarity.
My mom had Parkinson's disease and dementia associated with this illness. Her disease progressed and like the cycles of the moon waxed and waned. As her death neared, she reflected more light. It is my hope that she reached a level of acuity and peace with her final breath.
40 Moons was created to illustrate the last 40 months of my mom's life. I photographed her daily records, some 3200 pages in notebooks. The words were written by her caregivers. They described the gentle patterns of her days, punctuated with laughter, hallucinations and worry. Each image is a layered representation of a month, a blueprint to my mom's existence as she returns to the stars.