Elizabeth Danforth, high school graduation photo 1945
"Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember."
--Oscar Levant (1906-1972) Actor, musician, comedian and author.
Last week, I moved my mother into a dementia care unit. While sorting her possessions, I came across this photo of her that I have never seen before. It made me pause.
It is both sad and startling to place a loved one into dementia care. The decision seems to be forced upon you like a bolt out of the blue, but then again, you knew this was coming for a quite a while. It is just so final, almost brutal, to take the step of putting another human being behind an eight foot fence from which they will never really leave. Unfortunately, for some it is another step of life, much like a high school graduation, but with none of the hopes and dreams for the future.
It has been a busy week, with agency forms and introductions and crying and acceptance, but all is quiet now. Mom has settled into her new room and is making friends. My house is quiet. I want to paint. What should I paint? I am not sure. I keep going back to my kitchen table to look through the photos of her life, pictures of experiences she no longer remembers.