She is doing as well as can be expected, I guess. She is suffering from dementia as well as a series of small strokes. These have left her left side weak. She cannot walk anymore. She slipped in and out of reality while we were there. In her lucid moments she was funny and bright, her old self, but in her cloudy moments she could not follow a conversation and kept asking unrelated questions. Her hand are gnarled by arthritis. Her fingers weak and twisted. She kept reaching up and holding her head, as if she could push her brain into submission and send signals to the rest of her body. It was useless. She even had trouble holding a spoon and feeding herself.
But those arthritic hands had once held a paint brush. Canvas and oils were her medium. In her spare moments she had created some beautiful paintings. I am lucky to possess a few of her works. My sisters and brother have many more. She lived in 'cottage country' and painted the world around her. The old homes and barns.
The trees and rocks of the Haliburton Highlands. The flora and fauna in her world.
I have no words to describe how I feel today. The long drive up and back took a toll on me. Physically I am exhausted. The sights and smells of a hospital are not what I associate with the gorgeous countryside of Haliburton. It was a very stressful visit for all of us, but especially for my kids. They had not expected to see their grandmother in the state she was in. I know it was a shock for them. Nothing could have prepared them for the sight of their Oma, slumped over in a reclining chair, covered in a tattered flannel sheet, sitting in the hall outside the nursing station. It was a shock for me too. That's why I have taken photos of the paintings that hang in our home.
I know that aging is a natural part of life, but right now it seems unfair. Her paintings are a better way to remember the contribution she made to our lives.