As I write this I am happy, enjoying life and terrified of coming off my anti depressants. In this moment it is difficult to understand that a year ago I wanted to die. Back then I would not have believed I would ever again have the feelings I am having now. Life is good.
I was successful, adored my wife Karen and had a beautiful family. At first it was ‘there is something wrong with my vision’ and her balance began to be affected. Then in 1993 while we were living in Singapore she lost the use of her legs and we discovered she had relapsing remitting Multiple Sclerosis. The good news is the remitting part. She recovered the use of her legs for periods of time. The bad news is then the relapses occurred and each time they were worse.
The progression of the disease was relentless. Her legs stopped working, her lips and breasts lost all feeling, painful spasms made her scream out, paralysis crawled up her body until she became almost totally still. The pain from her spasms never gave her any peace.
I was not ill but in trying to solve the problem of making her better I became so. I could not accept I could not do anything to help her get better. The medical profession could do nothing, research was making slow progress and every month it got worse. My therapist suggested the more I failed the harder I worked to find a solution. Ultimately seeing myself as a complete failure the only solution I could see was for me to end my life. On three occasions I was two steps from doing so.
Therapy and photography have helped me through my black moments and are part of my recovery process. My work here is an ongoing response to my personal experience over the last two years. During this time Karen was in horrible pain and went through the final stages of losing most of her physical capabilities. I adored her still and never gave up looking for ways to make her life happier. Then in July last year she decided she wanted to die. She had joined Dignitas four years before. We had agreed it was not a decision I could help with. I wanted her to live forever but did say I would support her wishes whatever they were. Ten years ago she tried to commit suicide and would have died had I not come home early. She always said that is when she wanted to die.
She told me in August last year. I was torn apart again. I didn’t want to lose the soul mate of my life for 40 years but could see and hear she was going through was a living hell. She went to Switzerland in January of this year and was assisted with the death she wanted. It was very hard but it was a beautiful death and her smile is imprinted on my mind as she ended her life.
I again became suicidally depressed not helped by eight weeks of lockdown living completely on my own in Spain. I continued to try to capture my experience with my camera. What you see here is a selection of images that together tell the story of my life over the last two years.
My experience is ongoing. I know the anti depressants are helping along with exercise, diet, a social life and therapy. Karen wanted me to enjoy the rest of my life and I want to do so but deeply miss her like a tear in my very being.
Categories: Final Major Project, Project Development FMP