I am a little off topic today. Yesterday I went to visit my oldest sister, Paula who has early onset Alzheimers. This disease is a mean task master and has been hitting hard this year. Paula has suffered with it for 10+ years, but this year is taking it’s toll.
Paula was born a creative, kind soul. She painted, played the guitar, taught herself piano, and wrote music inspired by books she read. Early in her diagnosis we gathered up a lot of her art and sold much of it to help pay for her care. She is 15 years older than me, so she always had fun adventures cooked up to keep me entertained. She never followed the straight path and always colored outside the lines.
About once a month, my sisters, my cousin and I make the trek to visit her in the nursing home where she has been living the last few years. We carpool and spend 3-4 hours each way making the road trip. Prior to Paula being in a nursing home we were often busy with our own lives and didn’t spend much quality time together. Time in a car with four or five women, especially sisters, is pure quality time! My sisters and I have become closer to each other, we know each others struggles. You might find 3 conversations going at one time and laughter that only stops for us to shed a few tears
Once we reach our destination and are with Paula, we gather around to try to find things that will bring her joy. We color in coloring books, sing the folk songs that we all sang together as children, and share our favorite childhood memories. We smile, sing, laugh and cry. There is a special feeling of peace when we are all able to come together and spend a few hours holding this illness at bay. It is the blessing of my sister Paula, bringing us together even when she has few words to share.
Sometimes you must look deep for the silver lining.
Dog lover, nature seeker, artist wanna be