Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pears And Grapes #2,  Oil on Canvas. 

I have taken on a looser brush it seems.  It's interesting that as I write  the events of my past I see my painting techniques unfold in new patterns.  It has always been a goal of mine to paint looser.  Actually, I find that is a goal of many artists.  Not that painting photo-realistic is easier, but it seems the way of the beginner most of the time.  We learn to paint an apple by looking at the apple and then we paint what we see.  Loosening up requires a shift in the thought process.  For me anyway.  It would be unreasonable for me to assume how other artists approach their techniques.

I'm not sure if I can explain my process yet as I'm not sure I completely understand it myself.  It's like a place I go to when I'm painting where I dont have so many restrictions.  It's like no one is looking over my shoulder anymore and it's just for me.  I cant say for sure that I felt restricted before just that I feel less restricted now.  I dont know how long I will be able to achieve this technique or if it was accidental.  Only time will tell for sure.

If you will indulge me for a moment once again I'd like to explore another experience with mom.  When I first put her in assisted living, I had hoped that would solve much of my chaos.  In fact, it did not.  She called me daily.  Several times daily. Sometimes every 15 minutes.  She fell into a deep depression and I was told she needed a "more structured environment" aka: an Alzheimer's facility.  That was the last time she used my name.

I was told that moms dementia had escalated and the assisted living facility she was in gave her to much freedom and hence to many decisions to make thus causing her frustration and ultimately, fear and depression.  Dad was no longer there to call the shots and direct her.  Of course, I see that now.

The new facility was great.  The staff was loving and considerate to the residents.  Their aim was preserving dignity.  I saw that.  I also saw mom living amongst people nearly catatonic in some cases and 'delightfully addled" in others.  That worried me but mom never questioned any decisions I made.  She never argued with me.  In fact, she rarely talked anymore.  A few words at a time was all she could manage and often they were random words not relating to anything.  She was declining. 

I dont know if she remembered who I was and I was afraid to ask.  Visitation was harder and harder as I was the only one talking and I would run out of things to say quickly.  I learned to never ask questions.  It caused pain and frustration when she tried to answer.   I was responsible for her well being and I had no idea what I was doing.  I feared I was not doing enough.

It wasnt until several years later that I finally figured out the key.  Several years.  The things that went through my head in that time.  My mom was healthy were it not for her Alzheimer's.   Healthy enough anyway.  I didnt see an end in sight.  I didnt know if that was good or bad.  I had guilt.  I began to consider my own arrangements should I be diagnosed with the same disease.  I would not want it to drag out like this.  My mother was not thriving.  She was barely surviving.  I had no idea if she even remembered her faith.  She quit asking about dad.  She quit talking period.  She slept most of the time.  She ate only when the staff reminded her to.  Then she would sleep again.

My visits went from daily to weekly to every two weeks.  What difference did it make?  Everyday I'd count down the days until my next visit until I couldnt put it off anymore.  Then, after I left, a brief feeling of relief that I was okay for another two weeks.  I dreaded it.  Dont get me wrong, I loved my mom.   I hated what what happening to her.  I was an orphan in the making - or was I one already?

2 comments:

Karla said...

What a lovely painting! It is so brave of you to express your feelings about your mother's illness. I am living your experience right now. My mom is just getting to the random speech stage. I am so grateful that my sister visits with me each week!! The visits just get harder and harder.

Twiggs Original Oil Paintings said...

Thanks Karla. I am so sorry to hear that you and your sister have to experience this. I will try to share a bit of what I learned during that time. Maybe it will help you and your sister in some small way.