NYC Diary : Love vs Alzheimer's Part ll

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When we arrived for the second day with Suzanne, you could see she was very tired. Our prior day of excitement had taken it's toll on her, so we started off slowly. The decor in the facility where Suz is staying is pink, VERY pink. Suz and I both are not fans of pink, at least not in our living spaces, so Barb and I brought in some vibrant color, including one of Suzanne's older paintings. It really spruced up the place!

I took out the sketch pad, this time we had brought colored pencils for Suz. She looked at the pad and closed her eyes. "Suzanne, do you remember how we drew together yesterday?"

"Yes." Her eyes opened.

"Do you want to do it again today?" 

"No." Her eyes closed again.  

It was not something I was going to force, so instead I took off her shoes, trimmed her toe nails and gave her a foot massage. This gave her a chance to rest a bit and then she seemed more engaged, so we took her outside for the first time since fall.

We were able to take pictures of the three of us with the beautiful spring flowers. Suz seemed to really enjoy every moment of our time outside. She and I got pretty silly, we danced and sang like "Disney Princesses." 

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We took her back to her room to play some music. Another improvement to the room was a portable CD player and a stack of her CDs. First we played Marvin Gaye. She did not really respond to it, so I showed her all of the CDs and she chose the opera singer, Andrea Bocelli. I was not sure she was listening until song #6 and she began to passionately hum along, her face twisting with emotion. Her sister thought it was too much, was making her too sad, but I disagreed. Opera IS emotion. It is supposed to move you and I thought that anything that brought Suzanne out of herself was a wonderful moment. 

I will spare you the details of the heart-wrenching goodbyes. It was a beautiful and very emotional visit. My time with Suz has really started me thinking about being an artist and what it means when you lose the ability to express yourself. That is something I will address in a future post. Too much to process right now.