Only those with loved ones suffering from dementia can truly understand the heartbreak of the memory-robbing disease. One of those loved ones is photography student Zaria Sleith, 28, who wanted the world to understand, first hand, what it's like when a family member has dementia.
Sleith's grandpa, Jimmy AKA "Groovy," passed away this past Valentine's Day after a nearly five-year battle with dementia, but he left behind memories Sleith and her family will be able to cherish for years to come.
Thanks to an initiative called John's Campaign, Sleith was able to spend entire days with her grandpa and provide comfort as his health declined while also photographing some very personal moments during his final days. Groovy was first hospitalized in Scotland in May 2015 and was in an out of the hospital until just weeks before his death.
"I had always taken photos of my granddad as he was so special to me," Sleith told The Huffington Post. "Then at the end of August we were given an assignment in college to create an 18-week documentary ... At first I didn’t know if it would be too personal to do ... [but] I decided to go for it. It would give me memories of him, for years to come, a different way to remember him by."
Sleith beautifully captured Groovy, both in and out of the hospital, struggling with eating, having trouble remembering and enjoying those incredible moments in which he found a glimmer of happiness.
"I am so glad I captured the images when I did," Sleith said, explaining that after the project was done, her grandpa's health rapidly deteriorated in early 2016.
She's compiled the photos in a book titled, Please Don't Forget.
Check out a few of the images below and see the entire collection here.