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In one year, my father died in a crash due to complications of diabetes; I had two surgeries reserved for women 20 years my senior; and I became the guardian for my 92-year-old Grandmother Emma, in the end stages of dementia. My mother, and each of her eight siblings, had diabetes and high blood pressure by age 50, bunions by 55, some form of cancer by 60.
In the throes of dementia, my grandmother would ask, ‘Do I know you?’ And as I began to visit all of my familial ghosts, one by one, I realized this is the same question I now ask of myself. Dementia, diabetes, heart disease, cancer– these are my inheritance delayed. The tragic circumstances, the almost laughable irony, the wrong of it all, for the all of them, and for the all of me, threatened to cripple the all of everything. Then resolution. This series was borne out of resolution–everyone dies. The best we can hope for is a few good photos and a really good story about how we got to the end. Smile. Everyone dies.