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A Life In Death is the story of family, my family, looking at the experiences of two parents who were in parallel treatment for stage-four cancer, side by side. The project looks at the simultaneity of life—the good, the bad, the important, and the frivolous in face of death. It honors my parents’ memory by focusing on their strength and grace, both individually and together, and shares the story of their final chapters, which came to a close just 364 days apart from one another.
“Life is a gift, and no one promised me longevity.” These are the words, spoken by my father Howie Borowick just a few months after he was diagnosed with inoperable stage-4 pancreatic cancer. Having lost both of his parents before his sixteenth birthday, he had an awareness of life’s finitude so he never wasted a day, thinking each would be his last. By the time his cancer arrived, following his 58th birthday, his bucket list was empty. The only thing he was not ready to leave behind was my mother, his wife Laurel, the love of his life, who had been managing her disease—breast cancer—for over 17 years.
Nancy Borowick (b. 1985) is a humanitarian photographer and is currently based in Guam. She is a graduate of the School of the International Center of Photography and holds a degree in Anthropology from Union College. Over the previous ten years Nancy narrowed the focus her work, telling stories of illness and personal relationships, using compassion, humility and trust as tools to connect with, and explore the lives of her subjects. Nancy’s most recent focus has been her parents’ struggles with cancer. Nancy is a regular contributor to The New York Times she was awarded 2nd place in the Long-Term Projects category by World Press Photo. Her Cancer Family, Ongoing project was exhibited at the Visa Pour l’Image in Perpignan, France in 2015.