Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Super Red Apple, 6x6 oil on canvas.  Bid on eBay.

This is a new palette for me.  I suppose it is analogous as the colors are side by side on the color wheel: red, orange and purple but with the added interest of reds compliment - green.  I think it gives the painting a dreamy appeal.  Subdued to a degree.  I see my palette coming down these days.  Gone are the chiaroscuro dramas or the high key explosively happy little pieces.   This painting is soft, romantic and, like I mentioned, dreamy.  In my opinion anyway.

I painted this about two weeks ago.   It was just before my husband whisked me away on a two week road trip to New Mexico.  I needed a vacation.  Or better said, I needed a distraction.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, my father passed away and I found myself in the position of caring for my mother who, it turned out, had Alzheimer's.  HAD.  As it turns out, when the primary caretaker of an Alzheimer's patient passes away (and they generally do when they are the spouse, it seems) the patient loses the one thing that keeps them grounded and can spiral downhill rapidly.  This was explained to me by the local Alz facility.   And spiral she did.  Within one week after dads death, it was clear mom was no longer who I thought she was.  Keep in mind, dad had never mentioned moms illness nor did he mention she was diagnosed by a neurologist several years previously.  But the elephant was in the room none the less.

So there I was with some hard choices to make without the backup of a diagnosis.  Sure, I took her to the dr.  The nurse said it was normal for her to have these lapses following the death of a spouse.   But I felt the nurse was not seeing the big picture.  The dr gave her a 10 min memory test - which she somehow passed and sent us home.   My life became pure chaos at that point.  Mom was definitely not fine.  I saw it and so did moms neighbor who eventually convinced me to do the unthinkable.  Put her in a home.  But even that wasnt enough.  

My life became a series of dr visits, facility visits.  Phone calls with lawyers, drs, nurses, CPA's, brokers, insurance agents.. you name it.  Every flat surface in my house was covered with moms paperwork in an effort to settle dads estate and care for mom.  Every day I had projects to deal with regarding moms health, well being and estate.  I had her home to clean (48 years of marriage) and prepare to sell, not to mention my own home and small farm to keep up.   I was taxed.  My brain was turning to mush.  I was unprepared for this and unqualified.  I do not do details.  I wanted things to go back to the way they were.  I wanted dad back and I wanted to pretend mom was fine, just fine.  I wanted to be selfish again.

Things were crazy but I knew they were not unique.  I was one in a hundred million other folks in the same desperate scenario.  And who was I to feel sorry for myself?  It was my mother who needed compassion.  She was the one who was losing her mind.  And she knew it.  She didnt understand what was happening and it scared her.  I knew what was happening and it really scared me.  I had a pretty good idea what lay ahead but I had no idea how long it would take.  All I could do was watch and wait.  I never told her she had Alzheimer's.   

Those were desperate times.  Keeping it together was a full time job.  Painting was a drug.  Once the brush was wet with paint the world could stop spinning and I would be none the wiser.  Those were my chiaroscuro days.   Thankfully (?), those days are behind me.



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