After my husband’s death years ago, my days were lonely and empty. Then I began writing “Widow’s Walk” and those hours were no longer blank holes in the universe. I had found something to do that was meaningful to me. A friend said, ”You’re lucky, because you have a passion.”
Lately I’ve been aware how important this is for everyone. I don’t have to look further than my late partner. Chuck was a commercial artist by profession. He also had a studio where he went every Friday evening to do his own artwork –– three-foot-high oils, imaginative collages. For decades nothing was allowed to interrupt his Friday sessions – until Alzheimer’s did. That thief robbed him of memory, but not of something within him that loved – and needed – art. The nursing home he eventually went into had workshops in various crafts. I’d see him painstakingly select the crayons or paints he wanted, and apply them with the considerable skill he still had. I realized that the artist within him would be the last to go.
When an exhibit was planned to show the work of all the residents, I asked an aide if Chuck would be included. “He’ll be the star of the show,“ she said . And he was, though he didn’t understand why his drawings and collages were mounted on the walls. When visitors began arriving I was stunned by the sight of Chuck pulling at their arms and clothes to make sure they looked at his work! This from a shy man who had never wanted attention. But then in his eighties he was having his first exhibit.
Within hours afterward his cruel disease had obliterated any memory of it. So I taped many of the pictures on the walls of his room, creating a private gallery. He’d nod at them as if approving the shapes and colors. Until almost the end his work was the remaining link to the man he had been .
Art, writing, photography, crocheting, music, baking – whatever gives meaning to our lives – is essential to keep alive within us, if we’re to come through this Pandemic intact.
(Excerpted from my new memoir COME and GO)
BOOKS: COME and GO – available through BookBaby.com, Widow’s Walk –iUniverse.com; Turning Toward Tomorrow –Xlibris.com, Ten Women of Valor and Role Play– both available through CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com; also Amazon Kindle.