A photo series about a woman who copes with severe chronic health conditions by maintaining an amazing garden. Read more
This project was successfully funded on March 15, 2012.
Thank you so much for being there to support this project. I wish I'd been more able to do the kinds of promotions I know how to do, but have difficulty accomplishing these days. These days creating images is so much easier for me than writing, even though writing has always been my passion.
Here is some introductory text I developed recently that could be helpful in promoting this project in the next few days. Please consider passing this on to friends of yours who could be interested in supporting this project. Only FIVE DAYS LEFT!
You wake up every morning, and every cell in your body hurts. Just getting out of bed is like climbing out from under a ton of bricks. You lie there, your bladder ready to burst, debating about whether it's worse to lie there or to get up.
Throughout the day movement is a challenge. Your legs are unsteady. You drop things easily, and you find yourself cursing gravity because every dropped item means you have to bend over to pick it up. Sometimes, you just let things fall where they may.
The pain isn't the worst of it, though. The worst of it is walking around with a brain so foggy you can't remember if you've already eaten, and you figure that out by the dishes in the sink. If you can remember what was there before. Maybe you already ate breakfast. Maybe you didn't.
That foggy brain is what keeps you from working, because a boss will ask you to do something, and you walk a few feet away and can't remember what was asked. That foggy brain means each day you wake up it's as if the day before never happened.
And then there's the fatigue. The aching, draining fatigue that leaves you feeling like you've been awake for a week. And yet, the tiredness doesn't mean you'll sleep. Rather, you lie awake much of the night, or doze in and out of consciousness, falling into that twilight of sleep where you remain aware of your surroundings.
Good days mean you hurt just a little less. Good days mean you might be able to get out and be with friends for a bit, only to pay for the excursion later. Good days mean you are able to do one thing, one small thing, you weren't able to do the day before.
But a good day can also mean that your flowers bloom.
That's how it is for Megan, a friend of mine who suffers from several autoimmune disorders that wreak havoc on her joints and muscles and brain.
Megan's Garden: a Study in Meditation and Healing is a photo essay about how my good friend copes with overwhelming challenges through her garden and her Buddhist mediation. Aside from her own physical challenges she is now tending to a father with Alzheimer's, and she recently lost her mother (parents divorced many years ago) to breast cancer. Somehow, she keeps on going.
A project begun in 2005 for a class in story telling through photography, Megan's Garden has blossomed into what will eventually be a book and a multi-media disk including interviews with Megan.
Please consider supporting this project through a pledge at Kickstarter.com. The deadline for pledging is 3/15 at 8:58 p.m. The deadline is fast approaching!
I have been able to find deals that keep the cost of the printing and framing of the 15 photographs that will be shown at the Center for Photography in Madison down to about $250. That means the remainder of the funds I raise - if I am able to raise them - can go to pay travel expenses for a trip to see Megan in New York City, where she is tending to her father who has Alzheimer's.
Megan recently also lost her mother to cancer, along with a beloved pet who had been with her for a very long time. Megan copes with her own very debilitating conditions while caring for a father who is, essentially, losing his mind.
As part of her coping strategy she has begun another garden at her father's home, spending the last five months or so removing the overgrown ivy and some rocks to prepare the soil. Thanks to the warm winter, some bulbs have already begun to emerge.
My plan is to travel to see her during the week I have off from my nanny job at the end of March. I want to photograph her in her new surroundings, interview her about her recent losses and how they have affected her emotionally, and how her new garden figures into all that. The results of all that will be compiled, along with previous photographs, into a book with both text and photos, as well as a multi-media CD with slideshows and voiceovers.
The final products I believe can be very helpful to many others coping with losses and tragedies, as well as those suffering from chronic health conditions that seem overwhelming themselves.
The chronically ill don't get a pass on life's tragedies just because they have their own suffering. The burdens everyone else must bear are compounded by physical limitations that can make just getting up in the morning seem impossible. And yet, we do it. We do it, because we have to.
But Megan does more than put one foot in front of the other. She finds a way to make peace with the challenges she faces. This is a great gift.
Please consider helping make this project come fully to life.