I recently shared something that happened on my Facebook page, I am lucky to have so many on there that support me through the path of my husband’s Alzheimer’s Disease.
This is what I shared:
‘Until some in-process alterations are finished the only room that’s comfortable and dust free in in the house is hubs ground floor bedroom/sitting room So there we were and finally hubs is in bed and drifting off to sleep after being particularly difficult for most of the day.
Friend Lynne and I decide to open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the extension Planning Appeal being allowed. Lynne fetched the bottle in for me to open as she’s not good at bubbly bottle opening. I remove the foil then carefully undo the wire and remove it. The cork refuses to move so I let go for a nano-second to re-position my hand on the bottle but in that nano-second the cork shoots off, hits the ceiling like a rocket then rebounds and hits a sleeping hubs on the head. We just couldn’t help the black humour and fell about laughing at the thought and just imagining trying to explain to a coroner that hubs departure from this mortal coil was because he’d been attacked by an errant Cremant de Loire cork while we were celebrating. I should add that hubs was absolutely fine and hardly woke up were both! #Blackhumour #Alzheimers #PlanningAppealAllowed #youcouldn’tmakeitup ‘
I’ve experienced Alzheimer’s disease before my husband was diagnosed, my Stepfather suffered with the disease but I now know that the manifestation of symptoms and behaviours are different in each sufferer even if there are commonalities. I’ve been stunned at the rapid deterioration in the disease in my husband this last year. By default I am his sole carer although I do have support from my sons. I often have people say that they don’t know how I do it, how I cope, well neither do I. There is nothing noble about it, needs must and I am it.
I haven’t painted in a while mainly because there have been delays with the construction of my new studio but more because of the very difficult phase of the Alzheimer’s disease. The physicality of doing everything for another human being is exhausting, when the brain breaks down it does not matter if legs can walk, bowls can open, eyes can see, feeding yourself, swallowing medications, or anything else if the brain isn’t working, nothing works.
I go to bed very early, exhausted, but wake early. It is only in those early hours that I have time to think. Oddly as my husband’s disease is reaching a stage where he is less mobile and more bed bound I have more of a chance to consider painting and as soon as the studio is finished I hope I can manage to work again.
Life is so often about change but many of us fall into the comfortable idea of being comfortable. Being comfortable is a luxury, if you have that luxury enjoy it because often it is transitory. Talking with a close artist friend the other day, we discussed the past things we thought we wanted for our careers, we’ve both had a degree of ‘success’ in those areas but all in all they are not the areas we judge our works worth by.
People that own and enjoy one or more of my paintings are where success is. If I feel a painting can leave the studio it is a ‘success’ because it got itself to the point where it has an independent life. If the painting didn’t work as a painting it would ‘fail’.
Like so often in history when times were turbulent and sometimes downright nasty we seem to be going through a period where the idea that in order for someone to succeed another has to fail. The mechanism of the ‘Art world’ seems to have failed. The art world sees art as just another commodity, maybe it was ever thus but I want to see less of the win/lose and a lot more of the win/ win, a lot more kindness, a lot more of the creativity that the human spirit is capable of.
I will paint again, there is life beyond Alzheimer’s, if not for the sufferer at least for those close to the sufferer. I want people to want my paintings, to enjoy them in their homes. One recent purchaser wrote to me saying that from three paintings taken to choose from, one painting had said ‘Hi honey, I’m home’. All the cold white galleries in the world couldn’t give me a warmer feeling than that.