Friday, October 22, 2010


Peggy seems better, it's a dance, knowing how to give her independence as she becomes more and more dependent on other people.   The girls are doing the exact opposite.  While Peggy is going backwards,  the little girls are going forwards.  They challenge their dependency on me as a way of  becoming very independent.  Me, I'm pretty much stuck smack dab in the middle, not going in any direction at all.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Perspective at the Norton Simon Art Museum

I saw them, a group of wandering people.  Some clinging on to each other, some wandering off.  One younger woman pushing a chair trying to keep them all together.  They were a group of Alzheimer's patients.  I saw them from a distance, I knew them, they were strangers, but I knew them as well as I know my mother.

I felt very sad.  I felt that I wish I could be there pushing her around to see all the paintings.  Instead I was looking at the paintings with my class, pondering line and color and value, and why a painting "works." A break from my life as a mother and daughter,  I couldn't concentrate.  I kept watching them.  Oh my god, that's my mom.  She used to take me to the Art Institute of Chicago, we used to go together, we'd take the train, she always wore a raincoat, and every painting in that museum has influenced my life as an artist, as did she.

So I bought her a calendar of Mary Cassat, one of her favorite painters, and a book on Jawlensky, one of my favorite painters as seen above. I'll just bring the museum to her, although I'd much rather take the train.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hitting, Swearing and aggressive behavior

Peggy?  Yep, that's what the nurse said when she called on Friday.  I thought we figured this out, balanced the meds, she was accepting help, and it was all okay.  When someone you love has Alzheimer's Disease, these turns and shifts in the brain and body and how it functions are always alarming.  What does this "new" development mean?  Is it another stage?  How do we fix this?  Unfortunately the reality is that, yes, it's another stage, but not necessarily a progressive one it's just another plaque stuck in the web of the brain.  It's another barrier to communication with your loved one.

 I saw the confusion on her face today.  I saw her in this sea of time with no mooring, I reached out to her and she swiped at me.  She swore, then said she was sorry, I scolded her, I told her I love her and I apologized to Harriet after she hit and threw a dirty towelette at her face.... I saw her, and I couldn't get her.