Wednesday, February 22, 2012

From Out of the Chaos...

Alzheimer's disease is a tricky thing. Some days may be good--as in Mom can walk on her own with the aid of her walker and communicate her needs to me. At other times, we aren't that lucky. Mom is confused and anxious and can't seem to maneuver at all. On those occasions, we use her wheelchair. But on those 'good' days, Mom can become quite spirited. She displayed those feisty colors last month when I came for a visit only to discover that her apartment had been turned upside down.

I always take a quick inventory of the clothes in her closet and dresser. I also spotcheck her bathroom to see if she needs any supplies. On that particular day, I did my usual poke around of her bathroom when I noticed something strange. Everything on her sink was missing. I looked through the medicine cabinet and underneath the sink for Mom's toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss, but they were no where to be found. Where could these things be? She only has a studio apartment. Things couldn't have gone too far. So I started searching, beginning with the front hall closet which proved to be empty. Mom has three coats and every one of them had disappeared. I headed for the galley kitchen where I found her toothpaste in the second drawer down of  her lower cabinet. The roll of saran wrap from the bottom cabinet drawer turned up in her dresser amongst her socks. The staff then informed me that her coats had all been left in another resident's apartment. Apparently, Mom and her cohort had made plans to escape and thought it best to bring all their coats--both winter and summer. The toothbrush and floss never did turn up that day. When I returned the next day with replacements, I stumbled upon her toothbrush and floss stashed away in her purse. Obviously, they had been part of the foiled getaway plan.  

It's fortunate for most of us that our lives aren't that disorganized. But I find that when I'm trying to write, even a little bit of chaos can throw me off track. Claude Monet, my favorite impressionist painter, once said, "Tranquility is the first necessity if one is to work well." I keep a copy of that quote tacked to my bulletin board as a permanent reminder of what perfection should be. I'd like to tell you that my life is like a Monet painting, calm water in a lily-pad pond. But that would be a lie. On any given day, you can find our border collie chasing and 'herding' our two cats. From the time I wake up til the time I go to bed, the house phone rings with messages and my cell chirps with texts. My husband leaves for work at dawn and returns at 3:00 in the afternoon. My nephew heads off for his college classes around noon each day and my aunt--who now lives with us to be closer to her sister (my mom)--treads quietly in and out of her room. My brother works in the neighborhood and often stops by for a visit. Stepdaughters come to forage through the refrigerator in search of food for their apartment. In a perfect world, I'd have tranquility, but in reality, I have a life.

This so-called life of mine often overflows onto my desk. But that's where I have to put my foot down. While I can live with all the comings and goings and meowing and chasing, I can't work or write at a disorganized desk. I need a certain amount of structure in order to create. And so each writing day, I stack all the papers, dust the fur from my laptop screen, and take a deep breath. I clear my thoughts and then pray for the words to flow. And if I'm lucky and the spirit of Monet is watching over me, those precious words appear and I get to happily share them with you.

Join with me in asking President Obama to issue a strong National Alzheimer's Plan. Click on the link to send your message and please, invite your friends to do the same.


I'm pleased to announce the winner of my Goodreads Giveaway of Merely Dee. Nearly 500 Goodreads members signed up for a chance to win a paperback copy of the book. The winner's name was randonly selected by Goodreads and emailed to me this morning. Carla of Tennessee should check her mail for the copy I posted to her this afternoon. Thank you one and all for choosing Merely Dee and I hope that someday a copy finds its way into your hands.

If you love to read and you're not already a member of Goodreads, click the link to check out their website. You won't be disappointed.

1 comment:

Cherie Colyer said...

Great quote from Claude Monet. Life tends to get in the way of tranquility for me too, but I won't complain.

Congrats to the winner of your giveaway.