When my grandfather was dying, I desperately wanted my then boyfriend (now husband) to meet someone who was so special to me. It didn’t matter to me that my grandfather was a little foggy about what was happening. What mattered was that two of the most important people in my life could make a connection, however brief.
I was reminded of this moment when I came across a recent New York Times story about photographers Josephine Sittenfeld and Thad Russell, who documented the moments leading up to the birth of their first child and the impending death of the baby’s grandfather in a beautiful photo essay about life and death titled “December/January.”
As Sittenfeld writes about the life growing inside her and the rush of emotions she feels when she sees her baby on the ultrasound, Russell takes the readers through the ups and downs of his father’s final months of life. And he wonders: Will his father be able to hold on long enough to meet his first grandson?
By juxtaposing moments such as Sittenfeld in the hospital having an ultrasound while Russell brings his father into the ER for shortness of breath, they capture the essence of life.
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