On September 1st, 2007, I married the girl of my dreams. 5 months later Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 4 years later Jennifer passed at the age of 40.
During Jennifer's treatment we realized that many people do not understand the day-to-day challenges that someone with cancer faces. I began to photograph our life with the hope that we could share this reality with others. Our story is about about Love and Life more so than loss and death. http://www.mywifesfightwithbreastcancer.com https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Wifes-Fight-With-Breast-Cancer/164750166932146 http://www.twitter.com/AngeMerendino http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzyyNB2Vi2lEeCoTgj2Wiew

Comments: 155 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

NinjaDiscoJesus21 karma

I saw your photos before and I think they are wonderful. Sorry for your loss.

AngeloMerendino10 karma

Thank you. I appreciate the support and kindness people have given me. Helps me to heal.

FeedtheGiraffes10 karma

I've been a fan of you for a while. Donna's story brought me to you. Do you ever see yourself dating in the future? How do you see future dates reacting to this wonderful project you have managed to create and maintain?

AngeloMerendino9 karma

Thank you. Right now dating seems scary!!! I don't know if I can. A few weeks before Jen passed she told me that she didn't want me to be alone, I can't imagine the strength it took her to do that and I am very thankful. I'm still in love with Jen and can't imagine ever not feeling that way so it's hard to imagine dating. Not sure if it would be fair to someone else...

FeedtheGiraffes6 karma

Completely understandable. You are very strong person as well. Keep doing what you do. :-)

AngeloMerendino9 karma

Appreciate that. One step at a time...

Islumbernot5 karma

If or when the time is right, you'll know.

AngeloMerendino11 karma

Jen was a widow and she didn't date many people before we met. I guess this is another way that she is teaching me to let life happen.

curiousamy4 karma

She was??????? How long had she been widowed? My goodness...

AngeloMerendino8 karma

Nearly 10 years.

bombvoyage7 karma

I ran into your photos earlier this week. I since found myself thinking about you two a lot, two people I never met... Your photos and your narrative conveyed your story beautifully, you did a great job keeping it to its essence and sharing it with the world. I was wondering how you are finding the strength to carry on after this.

AngeloMerendino8 karma

Thank you for your kind words. These photographs have become a sort of therapy for me. There were many thoughts and feelings that I put aside while I was taking care of Jen because I had to stay focused and strong for her. I knew there would be a time for me to address these thoughts and the photographs help me to remember. It also helps knowing that our story inspires others. I've received thankful messages from women with cancer and this gives me great peace...I'm proud that we made something positive out of this horrible situation.

bombvoyage5 karma

and proud you should be. You are honoring the memory of your cool and beautiful wife with remarkable grace.

AngeloMerendino5 karma

Jen lived her life with such grace and I am doing my best to continue in the way she showed me.

loeslinders6 karma

First of all I am really sorry for your loss. I can only imagine what you must be going through, but by sharing your photos and story I hope that people can understand this horrible disease and how it affects people a bit more. I really think you contribute to that! You said you started making these photographs so your family and friends would understand your situation better, my question is if the photos helped and if they made it 'easier' for your family and friends and for you to deal with the situation? Did the photos do what you intended them to do when you started making them?

AngeloMerendino4 karma

Many thanks. Thankfully the photographs did just that. Our family and friends really rallied and our support group was so important for us. I can't imagine going through something like this without people to help pick us up when we were down.

loeslinders5 karma

That brings a smile to my face. It is great that your photos had such a big impact, and as you can see now they did not only have that on your surroundings but in fact on a big part of the world. Thank you for sharing your story and for helping people understand the consequences of this disease a bit better. I wish you lots of strength and happiness for the future! P.S. You tell the world on your facebook/website what a wonderful person Jennifer was, but it also bursts through all of your photos which is a wonderful thing!

AngeloMerendino4 karma

I appreciate you sharing this with me. I think the thing I am most proud of is that people see how much we loved each other even during this most difficult time. We grew closer with every challenge loved each other will all of our heart.

loeslinders5 karma

And for that I have so much respect and I think it is wonderful that you have managed to bring that across in your photos! Lots of strength and happiness to you for the future, and always keep in mind that out of this very sad experience you have created something beautiful which hopefully comforts you, even if it is just a little bit. All the best to you!

AngeloMerendino4 karma

Same to you and thank you for you encouragement!

boundedwum5 karma

What would you say was the most common day to day thing most affected by your wife's diagnosis?

Very sorry for your loss.

AngeloMerendino7 karma

Thank you for your condolences. It's hard to say just one thing because our day to day changed so much. Near the end of Jen's life it was the physical side, she had trouble walking and the chemotherapy was wearing her body down.

curiousamy5 karma

Angelo, I have often thanked you for sharing your pain and honesty through your loss of Jen, and I have seen your photos in person and online. I have often wondered if Jen ever simply asked you to stop taking a certain photo, or felt she just wanted you to stop the project? I mean absolutely no disrespect, I frankly ask because Im not sure I could be as brave or as strong as she was through her illness. Thanks for considering answering this question.

AngeloMerendino7 karma

Thanks for your support. Jen was very open about her experience and I told her that she was the boss - when she said stop then I would stop. The only time she asked me to stop was one evening when she was feeling horrible and nauseated and we had been in the bathroom for about 30 minutes. I couldn't do anything but be there and I didn't want her to possibly pass out and fall. I made a few photographs and Jen said, "Just one more then stop please." She was very generous and she knew that our story could help others. Here is her blog - http://www.mylifewithbreastcancer.wordpress.com

curiousamy4 karma

Thank you Angelo, for being so willing to grieve , and allow us to grieve with you both.

AngeloMerendino5 karma

Thank you for the support, it helps me.

clauuum5 karma

Angelo, hi, i read every day what you writing about you and Jen (Q.E.P.D) sorry i´m learning english, well i have a question for you, every person in differente life situation has to deal with some kind of this experience, but when we lose something but at the same time we win another, my question is, understanding your situation, what do you think you win?, and sometimes when we happen for similars situations, for example i always rememder "The four Laws of spirituality" from India, thank you for your time!

AngeloMerendino5 karma

Thank you for your question. I think that life is now so much more precious and beautiful to me. I try to not let small things bother me and I tell the people in my life that I love them all the time. I guess I've become more grateful for everything in my life. I do not know about the four laws of spirituality. Can you explain?

Maszi5 karma

Hi Angelo, I have only recently come across your story and it has deeply touched me. I lost my aunt to breast cancer in 2007 and I followed her on the journey through hell. A question I have always wanted to ask you that I never dared to ask her: have you or Jen ever considered giving up on chemotherapy and just enjoy the time you were given to spend together outside hospitals. I am sorry if this is not an appropriate question, but I have only seen fatal outcomes of cancer within my family and all the pain and suffering that people went through in their last years while fighting cancer makes me really wonder what choices I would make in such a situation. Thanks for creating this opportunity to speak with you. My thoughts are with you.

AngeloMerendino5 karma

I'm sorry to hear about your aunt. Jen wanted to aggressively fight her cancer until our oncologist finally told me that it was best to stop the treatment and let life happen. This was about 2 weeks before Jen passed. It was very difficult to have this conversation because I knew it was the truth. Before that I always supported Jen because it was her body. It was hard to see the side-effects and how much Jen suffered.

Maszi4 karma

Thank you for your answer. I am really sorry about your loss and I must say that the love and the support you gave Jen should be set as an example for how everyone is there for one another in any committed relationship. God bless.

AngeloMerendino5 karma

My best to you

survivormom115 karma

Hi Angelo, I first saw your story on a Cleveland news channel shortly after I was diagnosed with bc in August 2011. Your photographs are beautiful. I was just wondering what kind of bc was Jennifer's? Her2..triple negative? I'm just curious..as I have been fighting it for almost 2 years now. Thank you

AngeloMerendino3 karma

Thank you. Jennifer's initial diagnosis in February of 2008 was T1N3 ER Positive and HER2 negative. In April of 2010 her cancer metastasized to her liver and bone. My best to you.

karma_luvr5 karma

Angelo, I can't imagine the hardships you two have been through and I would first like to say thank you. My aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and passed away from ovarian cancer two years ago. Looking through your website brought me to tears. My deepest condolences to you and I wish you a happy recovery. What was the most difficult thing to overcome for you through your journey with Jen? Was there ever a point when you just wanted to stop? Thanks so much for sharing your story. :)

AngeloMerendino8 karma

I'm sorry to hear about your aunt, my best to you and your family. the most difficult thing was watching the love of my life dying right in front of my eyes and not being able to do anything to stop this. I never wanted to stop, I just wanted to make Jen happy and comfortable. Thank you

billie_holiday4 karma

I saw your photographs just a few days ago for the first time and they touched me so deeply. I'm a photographer (er, photography student!) and recently the ethics of snapping a photograph come up for discussion in class. Most people felt that it would be exploitative to take pictures of people who are dying or who are sick. While I disagree, I was wondering what your view of it is? Did you ever find yourself saying, "I feel wrong taking this picture"? Were there any moments that you, emotionally, as a husband, couldn't bare taking knowing that the camera would allow you to feel that pain again? I imagine Jen didn't find it exploitative, but what was her view of the photographs that would dictate how the rest of the world came to know her?

(Sorry if this is a lot of questions!)

Edit: One more question: would you consider lecturing at my school if you're ever in the Boston area? Seriously. We'd love it so much.

AngeloMerendino11 karma

I would love to speak at your school. Please send a direct message to me through my website - http://www.mywifesfightwithbreastcancer.com and put REDDIT question or something recognizable in the subject.

AngeloMerendino6 karma

Thanks for your questions. I think every situation is different and it is important to follow your gut. Jen trusted me and she knew that before I made any photographs I was taking care of her...she was priority #1. Some people are open to this and others are not. I think it is important to make these photographs - how will we learn if we don't put this information out? If it felt wrong, I didn't make a photo. It's important to honor and treasure the respect of people you are photographing. They are not subjects as many people refer to them, they are humans, just like you and me. Lynn Johnson (http://www.lynnjohnsonphoto.com/) talked about this at a photojournalism workshop I attended last October. She stressed that people are not subjects and the importance of treating people like we want to be treated. I agree wholeheartedly and hope this answers your questions. One last thing...these photographs have become very therapeutic for me now. Some times I have to turn the computer off and walk away but I am thankful that Jen let me make these photos because I have so many wonderful memories.

billie_holiday3 karma

Thank you so much for answering!

AngeloMerendino7 karma

Thank you for asking...an important part of documentary photography is curiosity!

Islumbernot4 karma

Having photographed many difficult situations, and having lived with a camera in my hand, I find no words able to convey hoe those images make me feel. The love and pain you convey belongs to you alone, and I thank you for sharing it.

AngeloMerendino5 karma

Thank you. I never had any intention of showing these to anyone but our family and friends because we didn't feel that they understood how serious our life had become. The photographs really started out of necessity and I tried to make photos when my gut felt something.

Islumbernot7 karma

I photographed terminally ill infants and toddlers, and it was terribly difficult. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to photograph my wife going through cancer. Have you seen Self Life Death by Nobuyoshi Araki? I think you'd connect to his work in a very positive way.

AngeloMerendino5 karma

Whoa, that sounds like it would be challenging. Was this a personal assignment? Can I view the photographs somewhere? I am not familiar with that but I will look it up.

jrodrig4144 karma

Amazing- your work and her spirit. I have become a great fan of our work. I am a person living w lung cancer, and can so relate to same many of the pieces in your body of work-so I relate to your experience thru Jennifer. I think you for documenting it as a whole. Every day joyful, unique and a battle. Hope you continue to heal! :) Jose

AngeloMerendino3 karma

Hi Jose, Thank you for contacting me. I applaud you for having the courage to view these photographs. It helps me to feel that our story is shedding light on the day to day realities of life with cancer and I hope to continue sharing. My best to you.

Evka_l4 karma

Very sorry for your loss. I watched on youtube- you were a great couple, really loving each other. Thank you for share.

AngeloMerendino7 karma

Thank you. Jen was an amazing woman and I miss her every day. I'm thankful that our story has moved people, it helps me to feel that there is something good coming from our experience.

melmillwee4 karma

I have about 100 questions. :) For now, I'll just ask this: Do you ever see yourself taking the photographs "on the road" with a traveling exhibit?

AngeloMerendino4 karma

Ask away!! I have had exhibitions in NYC, Washington, D.C.m Rome, Italy and both Cleveland and Cincinnatti, OH. I hope to travel all over the world with the exhibition.

bombvoyage4 karma

Let me know if you need a place to stay if you have a show in SF.

AngeloMerendino5 karma

Thank you! I love SF, it's one of my favorite places. Land's End is a wonderful spot to just go and sit.

bombvoyage4 karma

Are there things that friends and strangers do or say when they talk to you about this story that you wish they didn't?

AngeloMerendino4 karma

ummmm...Not really. I like that people talk because that is how we will learn. I appreciate it when people ask things instead of assuming, that is always nice.

bombvoyage3 karma

Good. I'm asking that cause a guy I used to work with lost his wife and went from being super social to incredibly difficult to approach after his loss. I always wanted to ask him what to do and not do and yet even the mention of his wife seemed unwelcome, while acting as if nothing happened was also impossible. Clearly you are having a different response than he does to the tragedy and are able to open up to strangers about it, I think it's very healthy and bodes well for your recovery. I hope you take good care of yourself Angelo, it seems like you are.

AngeloMerendino6 karma

Yeah, everyone handles this in a different way. It's hard to know what to say and when but you seem to have a good gut feeling. Very cool that you are concerned with this person. Hoping for the best.

littlemonster0104 karma

My sister was diagnosed last week with triple negative (the most aggressive) stage 2 breast cancer. She starts chemo in 5 days. She is having a masectomy and possible double masectomy.

I would love to hear any advice you have for me in order to help her. I live overseas, so I'm not able to help her in the ways many people can who live closer.

Also, are there any particular resources (books, websites, etc) your wife found most helpful during her struggle with cancer. I know my sister has been overwhelmed since her diagnosis, and I'm not sure how much she's been able to research those options.

Thanks so much.

AngeloMerendino6 karma

I'm sorry to hear about this. It is great that you are seeking ways to help. I think there are many things you can do. Something as simple as a text message saying "I love you" or "I'm thinking about you" was a nice surprise that helped us. It also helped when people would send dinner or help with cleaning our apartment because the day-to-day life was exhausting. Since you live far away, maybe you could find her favorite restaurant and send dinner from time to time or find a cleaning service. You might also set up a private blog where she can update people without having to send a ton of emails. Caring bridge is one site, Lotsa Helping Hands is another - anything that helps to simplify your sisters life will be good. One other thing is that everyone goes through things in their own way. We wanted our family and friends to be involved but some people want to be more quiet. There is no right way so do your best to communicate with her and take the initiative. My best to your sister, you and your family.

littlemonster0105 karma

Thanks so much for your response. I will look into Caring Bridge and Lotsa Helping Hands. I think my sister might like to set up a private blog to inform people about what she wants them to know. We have a large family and she has many friends. I think that it's been a little exhausting for her to inform many people about her cancer.

I think a private blog might be very useful. Thanks for that suggestion and for your other suggestions too. I appreciate your help.

I'm very sorry for your loss.

AngeloMerendino4 karma

Thank you and again, my best to all of you. Remember this too - people will come in and out, some times you will rely on one person and then it will be another. Support comes in waves.

pirjo-riitta4 karma

have seen your photos on google + and there was something so familiar emotions ,it's a beautiful love story and i can see love in every photo, one thing i would like to ask if it's ok for you and Jen would like to answer it.

When she heard about cancer ,how doctor told about it?
Did she felt ,doctor was supportive? How fast you can go to talk to someone in a hospital?

I am asking this because i remember when i heard about my HIVstatus doctor didn't know how to tell it,it was me who said it,and it took 2 weeks or something before i had chance to go to talk anyone...

AngeloMerendino5 karma

I'm sorry to hear that you received this diagnosis in such a distant way. Jen was told immediately and we started scheduling appointments for 2nd and 3rd opinions right away. We were fortunate when we finally found the right surgeon and hospital (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NY) and they were really wonderful and supportive.

pirjo-riitta4 karma

good to hear ,for me it's very difficult to type anything or ask anything from you because i still try to come out of my HIV chell ,living with stigma am just thinking how she felt and am really happy there is good doctors and support groups, what about you ? you can go to talk somewhere? how you help yourself? in a every day life

AngeloMerendino5 karma

I'm sorry that you have to face this. I hope that people will try to better understand what people are going through instead of judging or being scared. I attended a bereavement group a few months ago and that was helpful. I have a few friends I've made in recent months who are also widows/widowers and we talk. It helps when someone knows from experience, there is a different understanding.

pirjo-riitta4 karma

you are right , have been hiv positive 9 years and i have kept this secret inside me too long time,family ,mom ,sisters know and few of my friends, last year started to study (working with the kids)and we spoke about death ,what about if another parent is dead how we meet the family..and suddenly i just started to cry,had to go another room and cry...from that day i started to talk ,told few people and i noticed every time i talk i feel much better and now am more me Pirjo

AngeloMerendino5 karma

I am happy to hear that you are feeling better and I hope this continues!

pirjo-riitta3 karma

you have right to feel happy as well ,you talk and talk or do something what makes you happy ,for me dancing is good and now i have met one guy on the net , he is really nice ,i can talk to him, told him i am Hiv positive( i haven't been in a relationship for 7 years) and my kids keep me busy :) they are my sunshine (8 and 6) i was pregnant when i heard about this stupid virus

AngeloMerendino4 karma

You are right and I try to find simple joy in life. Wonderful that you have a good relationship with your children.

pirjo-riitta5 karma

thank you and am sure Jennifer want you to be happy ,she want see you smiling ,take care of yourself :)

AngeloMerendino4 karma

My best to you too

luisamon3 karma

Hi, I'm Luisa (Italy). For many years I was a voluntary of a italian Foundation named "ANT Italia onlus", who guarantees free assitance at the terminal cancer patients in theirs homes (medical, nursing and psychological support). Thanks at the your photos I can explain exactly what I saw in my last years now. I'm sure that your photographic history will come in the soul and in the mind of many people. Thanks to both and remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

AngeloMerendino2 karma

Thank you Louisa. I am grateful for all of the encouragement and support. My best to you!

luisamon1 karma

I believe in you and your project. Good night and thank you for your answer. All the best.

AngeloMerendino2 karma


terbear76R8283 karma

Angelo, I've been admiring your photo journal of your late wife's day-to-day life while she battle breast cancer. You captured her beauty through the pain and suffering of this dreaded disease. I, too, battle breast cancer from 2009-2010. I'm headed back to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN soon for my 6 month follow up. I'm just curious what Jen's signs and symptoms were when the cancer returned - if you'd be willing to share. Angelo, may God be ever near to you and comfort you as you journey through your grief.

AngeloMerendino5 karma

Thank you and I wish you the best for your follow up. I remember the anxiety leading up to those times. Jen's cancer metastasized to her liver and bone. She didn't really have symptoms, they found the new cancer after a test. Some times it was hard to tell what was cancer and what was a side-effect. If you'd like to read this, Jen kept a blog - http://www.mylifewithbreastcancer.wordpress.com We found it to be helpful when others shared their experience with cancer and Jen wanted to put her thoughts out in case anyone could find anything helpful.

Anjz3 karma

Amazing photographs, I really felt the emotion through each picture. My dad suffered through cancer and this reminded me of all the suffering he went through. Cancer is such a horrible way to die...

AngeloMerendino3 karma

I'm sorry to hear about your dad. It was very difficult to watch Jen suffer but she handled it with such grace and courage. I hope to never face this disease but if that is what happens to me I hope I can be as brace as Jen. A month before Jen passed we spent a week at the ocean. She had been having difficulty walking and was using a walker and cane. Since her legs were getting weaker she didn't think she would be able to swim in the ocean and she was sad. This video shows her overcoming that fear and living her life - http://youtu.be/Gv8fzbjlDBk She was a fighter.

sandrasimoes793 karma

angelo hello, I found your story on facebook and I felt sad sadly. Every day I see their publications ask God to give me strength to face this evil similar disease that insists on testing our strength seizing whom we dearly love more ... My struggle is being done with my father's lung cancer. Day after day I continue to ask God for strength and courage to smile always by his side as you always did with Jen. Your love overflows every photo, no one deserves to go through this ... Right now doctors say it's okay, and that the disease is stagnant, has been a big struggle acceptation hard because we know that at any moment things can change ... Can you tell me what the "secret" to keep the head in place? I know that love is greater than death but fear ....

AngeloMerendino3 karma

I'm sorry to hear that your father is facing this disease and I wish him, you and all of your family strength. I don't think there is a secret but I think it is very important to take care of yourself so you can be there for the people who need you. Find an outlet for your emotions - photography, writing, walking in a park, anything to give you calm. Also, make sure to eat and exercise and be healthy as stress can take a toll on someone. I hope this helps.

sandrasimoes792 karma

Stress is the worst, in the beginning it was really hard I cried all the time, the food is not happening in my throat, I could not sleep I was powerless ... I had to ask for medical help because it was already very depressed and had already complicated history . Now past 8 months I can not cry even though sometimes I could relieve the pressure but the tears have dried up .... every consultation, every exam nerves take hold of me, but now I am an expert in disguise. I do not want to have to go through this but the old saying that "God only gives us what we can handle," we'll see....

AngeloMerendino2 karma

Make sure to take care of yourself!! You have to be able to take care of your father and you can't do that if you aren't well.

sandrasimoes791 karma

I Know it, thanks for sharing your courage with us! I'm sure you are such a great man and all of this made you a better Man :) p.s: sorry about my english since college I'm a little rusty.... "Obrigado pelas palavras sabias e fotos enternecedoras"

AngeloMerendino1 karma

My best to you and thank you for the support.

glacierpoint3 karma

Hello Angelo, my name is Beth...my question is rather blunt. Was Jen afraid to die? I'm curious what, if anything, she verbalized - and what your conversations may have entailed.

AngeloMerendino3 karma

Hi Beth. Jen was afraid to die and didn't like to talk about it much. We did have a few conversations about this and it was very difficult. For the last few days of her life I believe she did find peace.

glacierpoint3 karma

Thank you, Angelo, for your candor. When I was dealing with that reality with a family member or friend, I realized that it wasn't just their fear, but I owned it as well. I am happy to know that you believe she found peace...that would be a true gift.

glacierpoint3 karma

Speaking of a "true gift", finding the story of you & Jen has been the best I've received in awhile. Peace to you.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

Thank you. Same to you.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

I'm sorry to hear that you experienced the loss of your family member. I've heard different thoughts about how death affects not just the person who is dying but others and I know that it has been a challenge for me to accept my own mortality. Thank you for your honest question.

glacierpoint1 karma

Well, I believe that the more we talk honestly and sincerely about these realities...there is much greater potential for understanding, feeling less alone, and possibly experiencing less fear. Thanks for sharing your lives with us.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

I agree and hope that by sharing our story there will be more conversation about life, illness and death. I believe that our story is more about life than death and also more about love than loss.

jmann72 karma

I discovered your blog and photographs a couple of weeks ago. I stayed up an entire night and viewed every picture and read every entry. I do find the format of the blogs hard to navigate but other than that I was just amazed at your dedication and your love. My question is did Jen make the decision to stop adding blog entries or did she lose the ability after her last one? I can tell by reading her thoughts that she was scared to died but I love that she never gave up. Thank you for sharing not just her story but yours as well. This story that has a sad ending has so much beauty and love in it.

AngeloMerendino3 karma

That you for your compliments. After Jen's last blog entry it did become very difficult for her to post. By this point the cancer had spread to Jen's brain and she was very focused on just getting through each day. It was very hard to watch her suffer in this way.

jmann71 karma

In regards to her last entry when did she go home? Was that the last time she went home or was there more back and forth? Did she have that moment they speak of where she seemed more alert and had clarity before she passed? More importantly was she at peace? When she passed was it in her sleep? I don't want to get to personal so I am sorry if the questions I ask are to touchy.

AngeloMerendino3 karma

We were back in the hospital one time after that last entry. The doctors told us Jen's liver was failing and she may live a few more days. It turned out to be 12 days and Jen's energy was up and down throughout. We were surrounded by our family and friends and it was quite a beautiful time, there was so much peace and love. Jen laughed and smiled and I believe she had found peace. She did not pass in her sleep, her last breath was on me.

jmann71 karma

I am so sorry for your loss Angelo. Thank you for making yourself so available. Excited to see more of your work in the future where the road may take you I am sure it will have Jen's blessing.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

Thank you for your support and encouragement. My best.

thath702 karma

I saw your facebook page and was very moved by your story. I am very sorry for your loss. I do have one question, there is a picture of Jennifer with a priest. What religion was she?

My aunt died of cancer 4 years ago, and it was a great comfort for her in those last days to be able to talk to a priest and recieve sacraments.

AngeloMerendino3 karma

Jen and I grew up in Catholic families. A few weeks before Jen passed her parents met a priest from a local church and he would stop by often to visit us, he was a good person. We flew him to Ohio to preside over the funeral mass. I'm sorry to hear about your aunt.

thath701 karma

Thank you for answering. I am also very glad that you pointed out how important it is for those who have cancer to feel love and support of their family and friends. People often don't know what to say so they don't visit or call, and I know that it's very important to feel that support. Best wishes to you

AngeloMerendino2 karma

I started making these photographs because we didn't feel that people understood how serious our life had become and we wanted people to know the importance of being there for someone who is facing cancer. Thanks for your support.

coloresque2 karma

I am a girl and currently 23 years old. Feeling my world slowly change into something more serious means I feel pressure every day to find 'the one', find the right job, find the life that I want. I was probably getting ready to do something 'important', when suddenly I got to read Jen's story, see the pictures and read the blogposts. A few minutes later I was numb and happy at the same time, like I had learned the best lesson in life I could ever have. There's so many times I feel scared, I can't believe to see what love is able to do. I think the way you honour your wife and what she had to go through is so respectful. It seems she had a lot of courage. I wish you all the strength and I'd like to thank you for being such an inspiration.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

Thank you for sharing this and I hope you are feeling better. Take it easy on yourself and make sure you are happy. Jen was indeed courageous, graceful too.

GUTGfrontman2 karma

She was beautiful, amazing photos and I'm sorry for your loss.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

Thank you

jimmydeviljames2 karma

Sending so much love to you bro. This world doesn't make sense.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

Thanks. I agree, just trying to put one foot in front of the other.

Ry_NSX2 karma

When I saw your photos I cried a little. I thought about my mum who passed away a few weeks ago from lung cancer. I thought about taking more pictures of her, with her, but it all became so difficult every time I tried. I was able to record my last real conversation with her which I'm very glad i did. I wont be able to look at the actual footage any time soon though. I understand how hard this must have been for you. I am sorry for your loss and I thank you for sharing your story to us and the world.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

Thank you. I'm sorry to hear about your mom and I imagine that you will treasure that recording for the rest of your life. Sometimes I have to step away from these photographs but since Jen passed it has been very therapeutic to look through them.

krkon2 karma

First of all, my sincere condolences to you and best wishes. I am very fond of photography and always try to broaden my knowledge about the medium. I like Magnum photographers and photojournalism in particular and I saw how it is hard to go through some tragedies and trying to capture it by camera. You did a very brave job, and it is very good to see that in the end, it it can help you and other people. I went through similar loss too, so I hope you will find some peace. My question is - what main advice can you give to people about relationship? If there is one thing people should never forget, know or learn about it, what is it? Sorry if my english seems lame, I am from Russia:) Hope I am not late..

AngeloMerendino3 karma

Hi, Thanks for contacting me and for your kind words. Jen and I always shared our feelings and worked hard to communicate with each other. We had to listen to both of us had to say and respect that. This always helped us. My older brother gave me some great advice a few days before our wedding. He told me to never go to sleep mad and to always tell Jennifer I loved her before we fell asleep.

datburg2 karma

I hope you the best in your life.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

Thank you, my best to you as well.

hellowildcats2 karma

My mom was just diagnosed with breast cancer...I'm sorry you had to go through that and I hope this will get easier at some point.

AngeloMerendino1 karma

I'm sorry to hear about your mom. My best to her, you and all of your family.

loonce2 karma

I actually met you briefly a few months ago -- I work in a food truck, and you got some coffee when we were parked near Union Square. I remember because it was right after hurricane Sandy, and we were discussing the way people were coming together to help each other out. You gave me your card with a link to this project, and of course I lost it, but re-discovered it a month or so ago. I was blown away by the photographs, and incredibly moved. Then I started to see your work pop up everywhere, and was so glad you were getting some recognition for your work and that more people were learning about you and Jen.
Then a few weeks after seeing your project I discovered that my boyfriend, who is a drummer, has done some subbing for a band you used to play in. Life is strange. Perhaps these little coincidences and connections are why I find myself thinking of you and Jen a lot recently. Thank you so much for putting her story out there. I hope you're doing well, and that despite your grief, you're able to find some joy in the success of this project. It really is beautiful, what you've done. All the best.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

I totally remember you!! Small world indeed. Thank you for your compliments and kind words, I'm happy that our story has resonated with you. Which band??

loonce1 karma

Jonka! You used some of their music in a video, and my boyfriend happened to overhear and recognize it. He said the former drummer's name was Angelo, and we put two and two together. He's a freelance drummer, and had done a number of gigs with them I think. Crazy!

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or events in the NY area?

AngeloMerendino1 karma

Such a small world!!! I am not sure about when I will exhibit in NYC. I'm working on a book and hope to set up a show with the release. You can check my website or Facebook page for updates - https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Wifes-Fight-With-Breast-Cancer/164750166932146 http://www.mywifesfightwithbreastcancer.com

ashleyandracchio1 karma

No question here, just wanted to say I follow your facebook page .. A friend of mine showed it to me after I lost a very close friend to Leukemia. The love you had for your wife shows through your pictures. They are amazing! I wanted to make your show in Cleveland, but I was living in Philadelphia at the time. I just want to say thank you for showing the world how much you loved each other, how much you guys went through and how you stuck together through every minute of it <3

AngeloMerendino3 karma

Thank you for your support. I'm sorry to hear about your close friend.

consumeradvocacy1 karma

I was just about to go out drinking and then I saw your pictures and now I'm tearing up. My aunt just got diagnosed with breast cancer, but she's been doing well after the lumpectomy. Your pictures are beautiful, and heart-wrenching. Condolences from a fellow Torontonian.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

I'm sorry to hear about your aunt, my best to her, you and your family. Thanks for your condolences.

waxpear1 karma

Hello, I don't have a question, I just wanted to say how beautiful and moving your photographs are. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Jen with us.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

Thank you

loverofmodernpoetry1 karma

First of all, I'm so very sorry for your loss. And thank you so much for sharing your journey through those beautiful photographs. You can really feel the love between the two of you through the pictures. I hope you can find the peace and healing you need.

AngeloMerendino2 karma

Thank you very much. My best.

Sweetyummymilf1 karma

Angelo I found your blog just last week. Really there are no words. It's a very powerful thing what you are able to do with your love and tragedy and I respect you both so much for sharing. I see you started this project as a way to communicate to family and friends the reality of what you were both facing. My question is, do you find it hard to be around people who haven't in some way experienced your kind of loss? Like the average dude complaining about his taxes, do you want to punch him and tell him to stop whining? What gives you the strength to hold back frustration? Thank you xo

AngeloMerendino1 karma

Thanks for your kind words. Before Jen and I had this experience we really didn't know much about cancer either so we felt it was important to share our story so people could learn. I've come to peace with the fact that we all have our problems and challenges and we are only in our own shoes. Some times I cringe when someone jokingly says something like, "Oh, I'd rather die," or "Just kill me." I guess I'm sensitive to those kind of sayings because I was there when Jen died.

vanatcha1 karma

i'd like to start by saying your post on reddit was the first to make me cry. i think your photos are beautiful and your story of love and life is inspiring. my question is which photo do you believe best represents your wife through her struggle?

AngeloMerendino2 karma

Thank you. That is a hard question to answer, I think the story in itself is all about Jen and her courage and grace. There is a photograph of Jen and me with clown noses on while in the hospital...this one makes me think of Jen's sense of humour. There is also a photograph of Jen in a dragon boat. Jen co-founded a dragon boat team in 2009 that consists of all women cancer survivors. This photograph reminds me of how Jen made the most of life. Here is a link to the team http://www.empiredragonboat.com/ There is another photograph that I made one day when we were out for a walk. Jen had been using a walker for a few months at this point. We were walking and Jen stopped to feel the sun on her face. She closed her eyes and it was a very peaceful moment. I think of Jen's awareness of each moment and the little things that make life wonderful. So...I don't know if that is the best answer. As time passes so many of these photographs take on different meanings.

[deleted]-5 karma


AngeloMerendino9 karma

I don't feel famous and i don't feel that I exploited anything. I had Jennifer's permission to make and share these photographs, she was very open about her experience and wanted people to know what day-to-day life with cancer is like because many people are unaware of this reality. We felt that our story could help to show people this reality. Also, if people don't share these experiences then how will others learn?

AngeloMerendino3 karma

Here is a link to Jen's blog - http://mylifewithbreastcancer.wordpress.com/