Portrait of a family's agony


August 12, 2007|By Chiaki Kawajiri | Chiaki Kawajiri,Sun photographer

When I first saw Anna, I noticed how firmly she stood, tall and beautiful.

Then, as she sat down for an interview to talk about her husband and her ordeal, she appeared smaller in a sad but compellingly composed way.

It was disheartening to listen to her recall the details of the search for her husband, who has been in a coma since he was beaten and left unconscious in a June robbery just outside their Patterson Park home.

Violence in Baltimore seems out of control.

I wanted to show what this social pandemic is doing to the victims and their loved ones, so I asked Anna if I could join her when she visited her husband in the hospital and take photographs for the paper. I appreciated her agreeing to share the story.

After the interview was over, I followed her to Zach's hospital room. There, Anna's voice became loud and alive as she greeted Zach, who was lying in bed. "Hi Pumpkin!" It was such a difference in tone and volume. At the same time she was cheerful, reassuring, and loving. As she talked to him and caressed him, she looked around to make sure he was comfortable. I saw the face of a devoted wife.

I wished I could send my thoughts to Zach to tell him how much he was loved and how much he was wanted back by Anna.

Before I left the room, I told her that I was sorry that we had to meet in this trying circumstance and wished it were different. Anna smiled and urged me to come back when Zach comes out of the coma, so we can meet again at a happier time. I smiled and said I would.

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