Carolynne watches EJ play in the window while Rich is gone on a business trip. Carolynne says she worries about taking EJ outside alone because she no longer has the energy to keep up with him.
During a hospital visit, EJ touches Carolynne’s swollen feet where Melissa had painted her toenails. Fluid build-up in her legs was one factor that forced Carolynne to stop chemotherapy. After a week in the hospital, she was sent home under hospice care.
Rich takes a moment to rest beside Carolynne at Concord Hospital. She was admitted in early January because of an infection in her salivary gland.
Carolynne St. Pierre pauses to compose herself while recording a video for her children. Her sister Sara Matters and cousin Anna Stoessinger comfort her. Doctors had just told Carolynne she would only survive for a number of weeks or months.
At Waters Funeral Home, Richard Jacques shows Rich the selection of caskets. Rich started to make funeral arrangements shortly before Christmas when doctors predicted Carolynne might not make it to the end of the year.
On the final day of her life, Carolynne is surrounded by family in her bedroom. Down the hall, Melissa gets ready for her state championship gymnastics meet. Fearing that Carolynne was close to death, Rich debated but decided to let Melissa continue with her plans. As Carolynne got sicker, Melissa spent more time away from home. She and her two younger brothers found their own ways to deal with their mother’s impending death. Melissa said later she didn’t believe her mother would die that day.
Rich kisses Carolynne the moment she passes away. Her family comforted her and held her during her final moments, as she had hoped for.
Carolynne’s family places roses on her casket after the funeral. Friends and family dressed in pink, her favorite color.
Exhausted from work and taking care of the kids, Rich says he just looks forward to going to bed at night.
At EJ’s request, Rich brings the dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets into the bathroom where EJ can see them.
Brian waits for his turn while Rich takes EJ’s photo during their visit to Carolynne’s grave on Mother’s Day.
Rich and EJ plant trees in the backyard to memorialize Carolynne.
Rich St. Pierre and EJ on Squam Lake in Holderness, NH.
Rich’s new girlfriend Kim keeps EJ warm on a ride back to the boat slip. The same friend who had introduced Rich and Carolynne also introduced Rich and Kim. They decided it was time to live together so Rich and EJ moved to Chichester where Kim and her daughters live.
EJ fishing in Chichester, N.H.
EJ and Kim’s daughter Emma shoot BBs in the backyard of their house in Chichester.
EJ St. Pierre’s 13th birthday party where he and his friends played paintball in Barnstead, N.H.
EJ sleeping at home in Chichester, N.H.
Remember Me is about loss, childhood, and how the modern family structure evolves through life and death.
In March of 2006, I pulled into the driveway of 62 Second St. in Concord, New Hampshire to first meet Rich and Carolynne St. Pierre. A reporter and I were assigned to tell the story of how a young couple was dealing with terminal cancer in the midst of raising three children. We ended up documenting the family almost two years. We were there when Carolynne died and continued telling the family’s story for the next 10 months as Rich, Carolynne’s sons EJ, 5, Brian, 13, and daughter Melissa, 15, struggled to cope with the loss of their mother. Through this, we formed a deep connection.
In 2008, the story was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. Though my work has kept me moving around the country, I’ve gone back to New Hampshire to continue to photograph. I now consider Rich to be one of my closest friends.
Melissa and Brian are both adults now, pursuing their education and individual lives. In the summer of 2013, Rich and EJ packed their things to make a new home in the nearby town of Chichester. What had become a family of two morphed again when Rich and his new girlfriend Kim decided it was time to live together. The same friend who had introduced Rich and Carolynne also introduced Rich and Kim.
Carolynne endured difficult treatment in the hope that she’d be around long enough to imprint her children’s memories, fearing that EJ would be too young to remember her. Rich has a cake made, every year, to mark the age Carolynne would have celebrated.
A few months ago, I photographed EJ on his 13th birthday. In the photographs that I make now, I am witnessing Carolynne’s son growing up. I’m making these images as a way to honor her, to give her back a glimpse of what she’s been missing.
I began by documenting a story. The work has since evolved into broader reflections on growing up and the passage of time.
More photos are available upon request.