Photographer’s painfully beautiful documentation of his wife’s battle with breast cancer [15 pics] | 22 Words

Photographer’s painfully beautiful documentation of his wife’s battle with breast cancer [15 pics]

By Abraham Piper

A mere five months into their marriage, Jennifer and Angelo Merendino found out Jennifer had breast cancer. She fought it for four years and passed away in December of 2011.

During her battle with cancer, her photographer husband created a deeply painful yet wonderful series of photos to document her beauty and bravery. He writes…

My photographs show this daily life. They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife. They show the challenge, difficulty, fear, sadness and loneliness that we faced, that Jennifer faced, as she battled this disease. Most important of all, they show our Love.

Read more of their story at his site and check out his new book The Battle We Didn’t Choose.

Here are several of the photos in his series with a few of his captions…

Fight With Breast Cancer - 01

Fight With Breast Cancer - 02

Fight With Breast Cancer - 03

Fight With Breast Cancer - 04

Fight With Breast Cancer - 05

Some of our family and friends were visiting us in Jen’s hospital room. Everyone was talking all around us. Then, Jen ran her fingers through her hair and held her hands out to me. I said, “Want me to bring the clippers tomorrow?” I remember patches of hair falling out without the need of the clippers. I finished shaving Jen’s hair off in the bathroom of her hospital room; it was just another part of our life. Jen looked so beautiful.

Fight With Breast Cancer - 06

Jen’s breasts and ovaries had been removed, and her hair had fallen out. No matter how many times I would say, “You are more beautiful every day,” it was important for Jen to feel beautiful.

Fight With Breast Cancer - 07

Fight With Breast Cancer - 08

Fight With Breast Cancer - 09

The summer before Jen died, we vacationed on Topsail Island with her family. Jen relied on a walker or a cane for the prior three months, as her legs were getting weaker. She loved being in the ocean and was sad at the thought of not being strong enough to swim on her own. For the first few days of our trip, Jen would sit by the edge of the ocean, and the waves would roll in over her feet. Near the middle of the week Jen decided she would go in the ocean if her sister Laura and I held her hands. I’ll never forget the sound of Jen’s voice when she said, “Let go.”

Fight With Breast Cancer - 10

9-22-2011 Jen in pain in ER

Fight With Breast Cancer - 12

Fight With Breast Cancer - 13

Fight With Breast Cancer - 14

12-29-2011 Following the hearse to Jen's burial

A final thought from Jennifer, through Angelo…

The day after we found out Jen’s liver was failing, we came home with Hospice Care and spent the evening with family and friends. Before going to sleep, I asked Jen what she loved the most about the day. Jen thought for a moment, then turned. Looking deeper into my eyes than ever before, she said, “I loved it all.”

Again, more can be found in Merendino’s new book, which is being sold to benefit his new nonprofit that will financially support women battling breast cancer — The Love You Share.