Monday, February 14, 2011

The other world...

Continuing my monthly trips from Texas to California to be with my mother and spend precious time sitting in the sun, telling family stories and breathing in the the air, sky, flowers, my arm around her tiny bent back to keep the iron of the bench from pressing on her. She was 92 last Friday. She lives in assisted living where there are many activities that she does not wish to participate in, continuing her private quiet way of life. She has a private room with as many plants as I can keep alive on my monthly visits. Happily, she is the type of elderly person who has become more blissful and lovely as she ages. She also has become physically very tiny, even gnome like, more fragile and less capable...people find her adorable.

But after two years of this....I am coming to some sort of breaking point. It is an endgame and I am so emotionally drained. Yesterday, I watched as a new resident, a man who looked like an ex-CEO who was used to making decisions, carry around a little pad of paper and repeatedly go to the phone and try to reach someone....he was confused with Alzheimer's or dementia or some such, but he was also terrified and caught in a nightmare. The man was carefully redirected by caretakers and treated kindly....but even they feel this pain. One of the caretakers said to me that maybe he comes from "big house, maybe born there, now little room...." and she patted her heart.

My mother was pretty much out of it when she came here and remembers little of adapting to a new way of life. But I see it all and I remember it all. I am very taken with the residents here, who are not exactly of this world...the one out here with speeding cars and speeding Internet and quick game plans and talk. They are of some in between world. Most of them seem quite happy within the restrictions of a now limited life. There are people here who were doctors and teachers, artists and... some CEOs......they were vital in their day...and now they are remaindered I guess. And for the families who visit least for me....walking in and out is walking in and out of different worlds.


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I am living and painting in the little town of Houston. A far way from my San Francisco beginnings. I paint what I see of the human condition, be it human, animal or object. The glimmer of humor, pathos, and spirit in so much of what I see is the basis of what I paint.


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