This is why I know what Mary Landberg is offering to families with a loved one in hospice care is truly a gift and I know you will enjoy reading Mary’s post about her very special project. She has generously offered to give away a copy of her book as well, so be sure to check out the giveaway details at the end of this post. Her photographs are truly inspiring. You cannot help but be moved when you look at them. Yes, you see individuals at the end of life, but mostly you see love. I had trouble choosing just three portraits to share with you from Mary’s wonderful selection, but you can view more on her Facebook page. Thank you, Mary for sharing about your amazing work.
“Why I Do What I Do”
by Mary Landberg
I am a hospice RN in rural southern Oregon. Though perhaps not many would choose to do what I do, for me it’s a tremendous privilege to spend time with the dying and I know I am a better person because of it. I am gifted with endless reminders of the value of selflessness and unconditional love. My faith in human connection is constantly renewed. My profession helps me be more of the person I want to be. All of my patients have been told they have six months or less to live. Along with such news comes a whirlwind of opportunities for me to help them live while they are still alive.
In return, I have learned how to be more present as well as how to live and love more fully.
In addition to being a hospice nurse, I am a photographer and I have been offering free hospice portraits to families for about four years. I strive to photograph that unwavering expression of love that endures between people dealing with terminal illness. Love is all that is left in the end; love is all that matters. To date, nearly 350 families have given me permission to bring my camera into a most sacred and vulnerable time in their lives. I gift the families a framed print and images on a CD. All costs for this service come out of my pocket. It is a way for me to give back.
I am on a mission to share with others the grand wisdom about living and dying that I have been gifted.
Recently I authored a book called, Enduring Love: Inspiring Stories of Love and Wisdom at the End of Life. I also have another book in the works, The Last I Love You, scheduled for publication in 2015.
Enduring Love is a collection of over one hundred portraits of hospice patients and their families embracing love and life. Many portraits were taken on the last day of life, some within moments of the last breath. The portraits are accompanied with grand love stories, conversations with the dying, their advice for living, and the wisdom their illnesses have gifted them. There are glimpses into hospice care and the truth about what death and dying looks like.
It is my mission to travel the country with my portraits and stories speaking to as many people as possible about death.
Many people don’t start living until they know for sure they are dying. Then there is a rush to live their unlived life. There is an urgency to resolve old issues and create happy memories for the people they are leaving behind. They thought they would have more time. We are, after all, sometimes experts at postponing happiness. Why wait to live until death is knocking on your bedroom door?
Don’t wait; live fully and love fully right now. Through my photography, writing, and storytelling, I want to share this message with the world. I am honored to be able to do so by sharing portraits and wisdom gathered through my hospice work.
Mary Landberg, MPH, CHPN, is a hospice RN, celebrated author, and nationally award-winning photographer recognized by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Mary offers dynamic presentations to ease the fear of death, encourage conversation for best end of life planning, define the purpose of life, and to inspire people to love and live life fully while alive. Contact Mary via her website.
To enter my giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy of Enduring Love, leave a comment stating you’d like to enter by 11 pm on Monday, November 24th CT. The winner will be announced shortly thereafter right here on this post. Also, feel free to share about how Mary’s portraits touch you, or feel free to ask her a question about her incredible work. I am in awe of what Mary does. What about you?
Below is a small sampling of Mary’s moving hospice portraits. You cannot help but be touched by them.