30 Days in Spring
In the depths of our hearts we are together,
in the cane field of the heart we cross through
a summer of tigers,
watching over a meter of cold flesh,
watching over a bouquet of inaccessible skin,
with our mouths sniffing sweat and green veins
we find ourselves in the moist shadow that drops kisses
- From Furies and Sorrows by Pablo Neruda
On April 14th of 2010 my husband Agustin was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
This series of photographs follows him for 30 days following that day, from the quiet and profound moments of contemplation, through the various diagnostic procedures, his admission to the hospital and the surgery to remove the affected kidney, and to the beginning of his path to recovery.
I kept my camera at hand, night and day, as if it could protect me, and him, from the inevitable. Taking photographs of my ill husband became my way of recording - and taming - my own agonies and doubts, and recognizing the signs of hope, and the presence of joy.
There were complications after the surgery, and Agustin needed blood transfusions. While waiting for the donors’ blood too arrive, I wandered outdoors, and into a nearby park. It was bursting in its spring attire, life flowing through the veins of the tree branches, feeding colors and shapes into spectacular bloom. There were shapes that were most fragile in their gestures, and there were textures and volumes that spoke of longevity and of indomitable strength.
I was thinking of my husband, as I was walking through this awe-inspiring life factory, and of the frailty of his struggling body, the resilience of his tired mind, and the fervor of his spirit.
Back in my husband’s hospital room, the time seems to stop. There are no seasons. No colors. No sounds. We are - he and I - hermetically sealed into a time capsule, where the only way of being is waiting. And hoping.
He had chosen to struggle quietly, without the arsenals of bravura and drama. He has inspired me through all these days, and keeps on doing so, with his beauty, doing things his own way, full of life, both like a gentle blossom, and a rigid trunk of a worldly mature tree.