Thomas and Carlijn (2011)
First prize Zilveren Camera ‘Daily News’
Premature twins Thomas and Carlijn are born after 26 weeks. Carlijn dies after 4 months.
The family, and Thomas pay there last respects.
SCROLL DOWN to read my personal story.
The welcome message for the twins when they came out of the hospital are still on the window.
Mom and their young sister have breakfast together. Carlijn is ‘with’ them in her crib. It is their last family breakfast with Carlijn.
The whole family gathers around Carlijn in her crib.
Thomas glances over at his sister, as if he is aware it will be the last time he sees her.
Mom holds her daughter Carlijn one last time, while her father comforts her oldest daughter.
Friends and family say their last goodbyes of Carlijn. And take a last memory.
The family walk Carlijn to her last resting place.
My personal story ‘Thomas and Carlijn’
‘I have a favor to ask; you are not going to like it, but I do nt know who else to ask’ It’s my friend Floris on the phone. ‘Friends of my sisters, their baby daughter died and they would like to have some pictures of the funeral because they’re afraid, it will all be a blur that they and won’ t remember’. Floris was right, I did not like it, however, it felt that I could not refuse this. Now what? I met with the family and we talked about what they expected. I explained how I worked and showed them some of pictures of the Afghan midwifes. The day itself was almost like a normal day; the family had their breakfast with Carlijn in her crib in the middle of the table. Some people found that really strange to have breakfast with a dead person present, but it wasn’t. Each of the family members had their private moment to say goodbeye, before the walked to the funeral site a few hundred meters from their house. When I got home looking at the pictures, I was moved; the last goodbyes of a young family member is part of daily life, however, not often seen. As a photographer I realised this was a good series; good enough to enter to the photojournalism competition Zilveren Camera. Still not sure, I called the family. I explained, how this sad daily part of life is also beautiful, as it shows family love. They agreed and the serie won first prize in the category Daily News Series. We have spoken a few times over the phone; winning the prize meant publication in national media, how did this affect them? It’ s been a while, we are still in contact. We read each others Facebook pages, but we never directly speak. I do not know why, there is no particular reason. To me, they will always be special: trusting me to document one of the saddest days in their lives, a truly special moment.