At the young age of 50, my husband was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer disease. Declared 100% disabled, it was the end of our lives as we knew it. This beautiful man, so full of life, patriotism, and eagerness to care for his family, suddenly became the one who was in need. He was way too young. Determined, we continued life as normal as possible with only a few modifications at first. Friends stuck by our sides. But, over the years, our lives changed. New friends came into our lives. I must say that God has provided through the entire 13 year journey.
Seeing the writing on the wall, I needed to prepare myself for caring for him. I left my job, we downsized, simplified our lives, and spent every moment together. Inside of me was always this urge to create. I began to paint. Jerry would watch me . He was my biggest fan, bringing visitors into our garage to show them what I was doing. I knew nothing about painting, but it was the beginning of a new me. When I had my first solo show, I couldn’t help but weep at how proud he would have been. There I was....a fulltime artist!
Today, my dear Jerry is in a special memory care facility. He sometimes knows me. Sometimes not. But each time I walk through those doors to visit, he shuffles those long legs and runs to me with open arms. It is a love story to be told. I tell him about my painting and he smiles.
On April 26, at Scout and Molly’s in Cameron Village, Raleigh, North Carolina, I will be hosting a solo show to benefit the North Carolina Alzheimer’s Association, in honor of Jerry and all of those who have been affected by this disease. My paintings will be up for sale and I will be there for a meet and greet from 5p-8pm.