Meet my grandparents: George and Esther Cloud. They exemplify sacrificial love. Esther has been living with chronic pain and illness for decades and George has been by her side every step of the way, taking on the role of caregiver in more recent years.
I began documenting their life together in October of 2017 in an effort to memorialize their love through photographs. This desire to preserve their legacy for my family’s current and future generations became a personal project spanning the course of several months through Esther’s many health struggles and ultimate death in January 2018.
Before the storm
In the fall of 2017, George and Esther’s life consisted of following the routine they developed over previous years: spending time together at home and attending frequent doctors appointments for Esther.
Esther’s hand rests on George’s knee.
Esther looks out the window of her kitchen in her Litha Springs, Georgia, home.
George prepares a snack for Esther in their Lithia Springs, Georgia, home.
George helps Esther take a pill with breakfast.
Pills rest on a table in George and Esther’s Lithia Springs, Georgia, home.
A Cloud family photo sits out in the basement of George and Esther’s Litha Springs, Georgia, home.
Molly sits in Esther’s lap in their Litha Springs, Georgia, home.
George helps Esther put on her shoes in their Litha Springs, Georgia, home, before going to a doctor’s appointment.
George buckles Esther into the car before driving to a doctor’s appointment.
George pushes Esther in a wheelchair to a doctors appointment.
Esther looks at her reflection in the mirror in the doctor’s office before attending her appointment.
The beginning of the end
Esther developed pleurisy as a result of a December 2017 gallbladder removal surgery. She was hospitalized in January 2018 for treatment. Antibiotics to treat the surgical side effects sent her into kidney failure and left her in a lethargic state.
My initial plan to continue photographing the moments and interactions between my grandparents turned into something else entirely: documenting the final days of their life together.
Esther died in hospice care on January 20, 2018. She is survived by her husband of 53 years, George, 3 daughters, 4 siblings and 11 grandchildren.
A new beginning
Since the death of his wife Esther, George now spends most of his time keeping busy at home and around town in Lithia Springs, Georgia, and caring for his dog Molly.