A Season A Reason or A Lifetime






As time marched on, at 36 I had to close the store. My girlfriend that was working it for me decided to move away...... I hired young people from the fine arts school to work on weekends. Hired a woman to work during the day while I was out creating but they all turned out to be not such good ideas.. I left a note book on the door with the store closed so that my clients could leave a message but that didnt work as they got frustrated that there was no one to speak with. My dream had come full circle it seemed and I cried so much at the loss of my dreams and of course not knowing what I would do. All my clients and new potential clients thought I had disappeared .... I was definitely back at square one.

Now the world was changing...Computers were really taking hold....the phone book was dying out and learning new ways of advertising was harder than it sounds. I didnt understand what computers had to offer or how they worked so embracing this new way was not something I wanted to do....It is definitely creative in a different way and for me it has taken a very long time to start to figure it out....

At this time in my life I had a group of friends that I didnt know at the time but were in my life for a reason..... You know that poem... A reason ... A Season... or a Lifetime ... it is so true. !!

the sister of one of my friends worked at an Alzhiemers' Care Facility called Zion Parkand they were having a great deal of trouble with the lock-up doors. Now for anyone that doesn't know - the unit is locked with metal doors that you need a code or a phob to be able to open them.

The residents suffering from this horrific disease start to " twilight" in the afternoon. They have the need to get home, kids are coming home, need to get supper started, husband or wife coming home, need to catch the bus etc...... their many years of routine are repeating and because of this it is very sad to see them get so frustrated ... mad ... swearing...yelling... and panicky.

Zion was looking for a solution this "problem". They tried wallpaper that seemed to work for a little while but as soon as one little tear or corner curl happened the residents get obsessed with picking at it until.... for a lack of a better description ... the doors were a mess.

The care facility asked if I could come up with some sort of idea for them, so i did some research on the disease . Some things I learned were.... they are on a constant search for something familiar...... they do not see colour very well..especially black.... their depth perception is not very good and they need solid common blocks - things that they would know as children.....

So I did a couple of layouts ( coloured drawings) one of an outdoor scene with a fence and plants in the foreground - the other of a bookcase with classic book titles and vintage items that would be familiar to them. Zion Park chose the bookcase.

It was quite the experience to paint at the facility.... nothing could have prepared me for this now funny experience .... The residents would get mad at me.... telling me that that is their door and who gave me permission... "wait until my husband gets home".... or the best one...

"Who is your foreman????? You need to move this stuff (my paint) right away... I will be back in a moment and I want to talk to the foreman" ( in a stern voice)....

The residents are also in the habit of carrying things around and that is exactly what they did with my paints.... but it only lasted for the first 2 days , and after that they only saw the mural taking form... After 8 days of painting 10 to 11 hours a day... the mural was finished....


My first mural at a care facility... Zion Park

The second mural I created for the facility was beside an elevator and the residents were not as " sick" as the first floor I was on.

In this unit you could see the change in the afternoon much more prominently.

I was having a much harder time emotionally working on this floor and one Saturday afternoon I started to cry..... I cried for the residents and the loss and lost-ness they must feel.... I cried for the families that so often would sit and cry outside the unit after visiting their loved one..... and I cried for me - for the fear of one day getting this disease myself.

As I cried while still trying to paint , the elevator door opened and out walked a nurse. As she past me, she said these words that changed my attitude forever.....

She said, " You will never know the gift you give these people" and although the statement may be true it made me realize that my gifts have value far beyond the monitary and by sharing these gifts it helps lower the residents anxiety and sometimes puts them into a much happier memory that to them is a reality. That,I would say is a great measure of success for both of us.

I have worked in over 20 facilities to date and share a laugh or two with the residents as well....


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