By Dakshana Bascaramurty
McLelland & Stewart
Imagine the doctors have diagnosed you with terminal cancer. You’re now measuring life in months, not years. As you process that, your first child is born. All you can think about is the legacy you leave, how your newborn can know a parent they’ll never remember. That’s what Halifax photographer Layton Reid faced in 2013 as his son Finn entered this world.
In her new book This is Not the End of Me, friend Dakshana Bascaramurty shares Reid’s poignant journey as he created a Finn Box, containing mementos and artifacts from his life. Friends and family shared video clips and messages on how they would remember him. He recorded video diaries and wrote many letters.
“He wanted a real range of stories, not just ones that elevated him to sainthood, but embarrassing stories or stories that show the full complexity of who he was,” Bascaramurty says in an interview with Halifax Magazine. ”He became committed to this idea that he wanted Finn to know who he was after he was gone. It was both a beautiful thing to witness in this and tragic because of spending so much time on this. I think he so badly wanted to show his son not only who his father was, but to also see him as part of a flawed human being and to maybe get some understanding of who Finn was from seeing what his dad was like.“
With this raw and sweet book, Bascaramurty forces parents to consider their own legacies, the short time they have with their children, and what they leave behind.