Twenty years after our divorce, my former husband began slipping into the desert of Alzheimer's Disease. He was still in his fifties. He lost his ability to work or manage his affairs. He lost relationships. For many months, he maintained the appearance of just going through a series of difficult transitions, but when he started sleeping in his car we knew he was in trouble. His adult children lovingly stepped forward to support him. The helplessness we felt as he became dependent and confused was overwhelming. Arrangements had to be made for his care.
The agony expressed in this painting emerged as I talked on the
telephone over many days with my son and daughter on the East
coast. They were interviewing and visiting the nursing homes to
choose the one where their handsome, strong, still-young father
would go to live with much older and feeble, disabled people.
Everyone was sympathetic and helpful. Yet the tragedy of their
father's losing his mind drove a constant, roiling river of pain through