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.


  1. Ohhhh, I'm SO sorry Nance, for your tormenting decision but ultimately your lovely mother is safe and it also sounds like she is rebounding with making new friends. It would be lovely to celebrate your mother's lifetime of joy in one of your beautiful paintings...either a still life collection of her favorite or commenorative things...or perhaps even try a portrait! Blessings to you both, Jeanne

  2. Jeanne, Thank you for taking the time from your busy day to write such supportive thoughts. Your kindness made my day brighter. Nance

  3. Hi Nance. I just found your blog and I am drooling over your work. You see, I didn't start when I was 8. I started painting when I was 60! But I've wanted to since I was 8! Your work truly inspires me. I am trying my first cowboy hat...which is how I found you. Yours is magnificent.

    On another note, I am easing my mother (and me) into the reality of her next step. I feel for you. Mother's limitation is in movement so she needs assistance all the time. Her memory is pretty good so she is well aware. We will get through. There are so many blessings in store for us all.

    Of all the artists on line you are my current favorite! Any learning comments you have, please pass along. I am wide open to learning! Thanks, Sandra

    1. Sandra,

      Thank you for dropping by my blog and for your kind comments on my work. You have reminded me that I do need to talk more about process and inspiration. I am often so involved with creating the art that I forget to use this blog to pass along knowledge to others. So, thanks for the nudge in that direction!

      Congratulations on your move into painting at age 60! I have always believed, even in my 20's, that women artists usually come into their prime in their 50's through 70's. So, you are right on schedule! You have probably been creative in many ways your whole life, but now have the time and maturity to delve into expressing yourself through paint.

      Thank you, also, for sharing about your mother. Change always comes with challenges. But, as I am sure you know, those changes later in life make us so much more aware of the preciousness of each day, of each conversation, of each laugh shared. You and your mother will be in my prayers.

      Namaste, Nance

  4. Hi Nance, this seems so serendipitous. I was admiring your peaches and decided to peek at your blog. I stumbled upon your post about your mother. I am facing the very same set of circumstances as my mother is a dementia patient. She is not yet in a nursing home but is headed there. It is such a sad situation. All of my mother's life one would have to get up very early in the morning, as they say, to pull the wool over her eyes. Now, her life will end with her memory severly compromised. It was comforting to read your post.

  5. Hello Nance,

    I too am a Florida artist. I am thrilled to find your stunning work and will be following you on DPO. I particularly love the grapes in your header.....so dramatic and I love drama!

    This post struck me as my mother passed away recently after 8 years in a nursing home. She also was suffering with dementia. It was very upsetting for me to visit her, which I did without fail, but now that she is gone, I find that I cherish those visits, even though they seemed so inadequate at the time. Cherish you time with her.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I always enjoy hearing what you think about my work.