|Written by Henrik Malmstrom|
|16 Sep 2010|
In the summer of 1999 my older sister Maija was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, only 20 years old. Her prognosis was not good. With the help of different treatments and a strong will she was able to extend, and periodically enjoy, her life.
In November 2007 Maija was hospitalised again. This is when I started to document her and the rest of my family in hospitals and at home. The following months were to be her last, for she passed away at home in April 2008.
For me there was a need for documenting feelings and happenings in front of me. During the years I had seen Maija's course, her ups and downs. Somehow I understood that these were the last moments. I had experienced the death of my mother from cancer a year earlier. I tried to photograph her, but she wasn't really willing and maybe I wasn't ready to do it.
In a difficult family situation different roles are adopted and photographing was a natural way of being close to Maija. Spending time in the hospital with her was much easier if I had something to do, in this case photographing. Even if it is a close family member who is hospitalised, it can become very boring and it's good to keep oneself active. It became a job, but at the same time an expression. Photographing is a way of dealing with reality and feelings.
In March 2010 I published a book of these pictures. The two years I worked on it after my sister's death have come to define all of my future work. This was my sorrow work, and I am now free to move on.