A daughter treasuring her dad’s last days after being diagnosed with lung cancer
Words and Images by Bec Zacher
A little about Peter and Kylie’s Story
A beautiful lady named Kylie contacted me a few weeks ago. It was one of those emails that just leaves you a little speechless and overwhelmed that one family could be facing so many challenges at once.
Kylie’s husband Richard is 35 and has terminal cancer of the bowel and liver which he has been bravely battling for 2 years. When I met him he broke down when telling me about his diagnosis and that he had now been told on three occasions that he only had 6 months to live. With his kids by his side he boldly stated that “I will keep fighting as hard as I can to be here for my kids as they grow up”. Michael and Kylie have three children together.
I was going to do a session with Kylie and her husband Richard (and we will be soon!) but they then received news of another family member with cancer.
In March this year, Peter, Kylie’s father found out that he had lung cancer that had spread throughout his brain and he was told that he did not have long to live, only week to a month at best.
Peter was a healthy man who worked as a truck driver and drove back and forth from Cairns to the Gold Coast. He was working right up until March this year when he felt a little off and his wife encouraged him to get checked out at the doctor. The scans showed that what had started as lung cancer had rapidly spread throughout Peter’s brain. He chose to go home and spend his last weeks in a bed set up in his lounge room surrounded by his family and friends in the home he had lived in for years.
On May 11th I spent a morning with the family documenting their time with Peter and listening to stories about his life.
I was so privileged to witness and capture the last days of a man who had many around him that were obviously so connected to him and devastated at watching the husband, father and brother they loved, in such a state of pain.
The day after these images were taken, Kylie said that “the day you took these photos is the last day my Dad was my Dad (in a way) since the very next day he has slipped away slowly, he just stares right through your soul, he is lifeless and can not communicate and is basically just a body, cancer is such a cruel disease.”
“It is just so heartbreaking and I am so thankful that whoever was watching over him gave him this last day and enough strength to be able to make these beautiful memories for me and especially my children. Thank you for taking your time in doing this all for my family it means the world and am just overwhelmed with the photos.”
Peter passed away 13 days after we took these images, on May 24th 2017. All my love to this beautiful family.