For the longest time, Carolynne St. Pierre was a normal mother. She was a loving, giving woman, dedicated to life with her family. She was known as a person with incredible wit and she worked as a maternity nurse, helping to bring lives into the world. When she was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer, she knew how she wanted to leave this world. She wanted to be surrounded by her loving family, the people she cared for so much. Photographer Preston Gannaway began documenting Carolynne and her family’s life as they struggled with the terminal illness. The story, which was about balancing family and illness, ran in the Concord Monitor. Afterwards, they kept going. Soon, Gannaway took enough photos of this family to create the series Remember Me. The photo series showed just how torn apart by tragedy the family was, but how their loving bonds still kept them together.
As Carolynne battled her cancer, her son EJ was only 5 years-old. Time with him was precious.
Trips with her family inspired Carolynne to undergo the painful treatments that would help extend her life.
Being in and out of the hospital with her husband Rich was common.
As time went on, Carolynne was afraid to play with EJ outside, as she could no longer keep up with him.
Rich had to begin making funeral arrangements shortly before Christmas, when doctors predicted that she wouldn’t make it to the end of the year.
Carolynne wept and needed to compose herself as she made videos for her children. Her sister Sara Matters and cousin Anna Stoessinger were there by her side, comforting her.
On the final day of Carolynne’s life, she was surrounded by her family. Her daughter Melissa prepared for a gymnastics competition, her own way with dealing with her mother’s impending death.
Rich kissed Carolynne as she passed away. Her family was close by, as she hoped they would be. There was nothing but love. She died at home in February of 2007 at the age of 44.
Now, he takes care of their three children and works to provide for them. It is exhausting.
Rich shows EJ his dinosaur chicken nuggets.
This now-single parent scolds Brian after they got into an argument at Carolynne’s gravesite.
Rich and EJ plant trees to remember Carolynne.
On EJ’s first day of school, his family shows up to support him since Carolynne isn’t there.
Rich sent his son Brian to a therapeutic wilderness program in North Carolina. Problems with Brian persisted at home, and he hoped some time away for the summer would help him.
Brian cries outside of his new therapeutic boarding school in South Carolina. Rich hopes that the school will help Brian deal with his grief.
It’s hard to understand the pain that this family experienced as Carolynne fought, and then lost her battle to, cancer. Remember Me shows the raw, emotional truth behind terminal illness. What people have to face in their last days (and what their families experience after) seem insurmountable. To see more of Preston Gannaway’s work, please visit her Facebook page. Source: Preston Gannaway All of us will face different battles. Share Carolynne’s with others.