I've just returned from a 4 day trip to RI to visit with family, and to see my mother who has recently moved to the Alzheimer's unit in a nursing home. She was in the Alzheimer's unit of an assisted living facility for the past couple of years, but now needs more intensive one-on-one care. Her short term memory is kaput, but she recognizes her family, and even remembers some of our names. She loves to see us. She is sweet tempered, and when I am with her now, I simply feel her warm and gentle spirit. Visiting with her is always bitter sweet. The bitter part is perhaps all about me and my feelings: my wanting to hang onto memories, my wanting it to be like it was, my missing my father and our childhood home, my nonacceptance of her condition. I cry my heart out every time I drive back north to Maine.
l-r: My aunt, grandmother, and mother in the early 50's.
My father on the right with two of his boyhood friends in 1938.
My parents in the 40's.
What is memory? What is real? What is myth?
I have a one woman show coming up in September and have been searching for a theme for a body of work, and think I've started something with the drawing in my last post. I always draw people larger than life and I am examining the implications of this tendency. I idealize and mythologize people. Is it possible that I am searching for their eternal spirit?
When you dream of loved ones who've passed, how do they show up? What do they look like? How old are they? When my father shows up in my dreams, he's often younger, and looks like he did when I was a girl, at a time when he certainly was larger than life. Are there times in our life when we are most truly ourselves? Does it show? What does that look like? We are constantly changing roles, as well. What does that look like?
Not sure where am I going with this, I am really just beginning to piece this together, this idea of doing a series of charcoal portraits from photos that speak of archetypes and the mythic figure, and can I make it interesting. One of my therapists used to say, beware the "euphoric recall."
But is there not a place for this?