My father never wanted to celebrate his birthday or Father’s Day, but he did want a big celebration of his life when he died. My father passed unexpectedly on February 4, 2005, and we had five ceremonies for him: a wake the following Thursday; a viewing at Abyssinian Baptist Church on Friday; a funeral at Riverside Church on Saturday; the Mason’s ceremony on Sunday; and his cremation at Ferncliff Cemetery on Monday. Those five days of grief, bewilderment, and disbelief came and went swiftly and brought with them the finality of never again seeing my father, hugging him, or kissing him goodnight.
Because I wanted to hold on to my father; because I wanted to remember everything that happened—what I saw, what I felt; because I am a photographer, I took hundreds of photographs during those FINAL DAYS as well as the five additional ceremonies after my mother passed away. And because I know that other people want to remember the final days of their loved ones, I take hundreds of photographs for them too.