Project 365 is progressing slowly. It seemed an exceptionally simple objective: to execute a single daily image of a child, given whatever time was available, using any medium. Start date: November 6th, my 50th birthday.
I have not abandoned this concept so early on in the process but have realized more than ever that factors such as real world occurrences above and beyond the typical demands of full time work, family and life in general, potentially impact time, energy and motivation in a way that is down right paralyzing. This goes without saying perhaps but my own deep-seated sense of inadequacy that conceived this basic project to purposely keep my ever wandering mind on track makes personal failure at something so seemingly “easy”, difficult to bear.
As of late, even putting a single stroke on a page seems uninteresting and laborious. My motivation has waned and yet I am scribbling my way through but not with the intended fervor that I had imagined. I am embarrassed by my inability to perform better.
The “real world occurrence”, without over dramatization or a laundry listing of the many heart wrenching details …was the hospitalization of my 73 year old mother two weeks prior to my project start date. In many ways it was expected… inevitable. I knew immediately that this would not have a positive outcome and that she would possibly never return to her home of 41 years. It was confirmed two weeks ago that indeed she will not. This has been excruciating for her to process on many levels, the most significant being that my 47 year old, mentally impaired brother who lived with her, will as a result, also be displaced.
The lives of my sister Beth and I have been consumed by the juggling act of the resulting upheaval. Beth is the strong and gracious one shouldering much of the precipitating burden. Near daily hospital visits and sharing custody of my brother who suffered trauma that caused extensive short term memory impairment 20 years ago, have become the norm. My Mom, coherent and depressed, reluctantly resigned herself to being situated in a convalescent home for the duration of her life. The care she requires is so incredibly extensive, that this seemed the only alternative. She knows this and was relocated this past Saturday to her new residence.
On Sunday morning, November 24th, she flatlined…coded…whatever the appropriate terminology. She was rushed to the nearest E.R. They responded efficiently and effectively, worked furiously to revive her unaware of the “Do not resuscitate” orders which had not yet been transferred from the rehab center to her new "home."
This week, she has been surrounded by family. She is awake without any recollection of her lapse into a permanent sleep or the resuscitation that followed. She is amazingly able to converse and respond quite well. However, her challenges are greater. She is unable to breathe independent of a Bi-pap ventilator. The trauma to her chest from the CPR caused physical damage and pain. Her body is retaining fluid. She is reliant on others to accommodate her basic needs. She is not ambulatory and is trapped in her own body.This is her current state of existence.
Along with my sister,while we are able, we wait, feed her, talk with her, watch monitor levels rise and fall. I fail to imagine her pain and place. I asked her what she thinks during all of these hours immobilized and alone. “Life and death,” she emphatically stated. However, she does express hopefulness that she will recover but also how tired she is at trying.
I cannot remember why I paint at the moment. In comparison to real challenges, mine are ridiculously small...near non-existent and yet I do not move. I know this is a time to just be and accept events as they unfold.
Project 365: more to come….