When Lee was first diagnosed with dementia I knew that my life had suddenly changed. I sat and folded folios like this one and gessoed them, drew images of how that felt and then stitched around the edges to keep myself centered and contained.
I colored them with the earth pigments from my home and tried to draw how things were going with my emotions and the sudden knowledge that my foundations of home, fifty year relationship, artwork, all of it had shifted.
I made several of these and then folded them up and put them into a wooden box with many more that never were gessoed or drawn on or stitched.
I need to get them back out and pay attention to the marks that could inspire words. I can still write. Words on a page will be something I can do on those legal pads I keep down in the studio to write poetry, or a story. The pads will be moved upstairs with smooth, fast writing ballpoint pens that can keep up with me.
In the past two days I have picked myself up and got on with it. Friends have sent nice emails and messages. And almost everyone of them made no assumptions or judgments on how I am floundering about at times. I am in pretty deep waters here. Lee and I will be fine. It’s my job and three times a week I get some help. Like right now a very young blue-eyed blonde girl has shown up to be with him, and I am not sure he has stopped smiling.
And tomorrow is our day for lunch at the brewery.
Today he helped me unwrap a second bundling of Eucalyptus leaves and seeds from more of the silk shirt and good paper.
The colors are not as rich as before but fine to work with. Not sure what I will do with them but for now they are so soothing in their wonderful smells of down under. In not too many hours my friends there will be unpacking workshop essentials at their accommodations at Halls Gap in the Grampians. Then heading off to dinner and loads of hugs. I send them bunches of mine.
Besides being emotionally all over the place this week, I finished this piece of lino carving.
My plan is to ink this up with a very soft light grey and then overprint it in a black stark image.
Now that caregivers come it is safe to spread out the inks and stick with the process for hours at a time. I will post pictures of how that goes. First thing is to make up several of these “backgrounds”, hang them to dry while I carve the bold images that go on top.
Another friend will arrive soon to manage her partner’s property here. She asked to buy a copy of my poetry book, Distance Matters, for someone who liked hers. This is the poem that helped her deal with her loss and I am going to read it more often myself.
We do not plan
the journey of our interiors,
but hold steady, go slow,
and ride the tide
into harbors of memory.