Posts Tagged ‘random thoughts’

“If all is illusion, let’s choose the most beautiful… “- Jodorowsky

unfinished graphite sketch of one of my paintings, 2015, 15x25 cm (6 x10)

unfinished graphite sketch of one of my paintings, 2015, 15×25 cm (6 x10)     …….

The story continues……

.. My sisters unrelenting plan to win my aunt over to her side continued at a steady pace. There was nothing I could say or do to deter the situation. This accomplishment was made easier by the fact that my aunt was starting to go a little dotty and was developing a mild paranoia brought on by recent stress factors, such as her cat dying, a few friends dying, a bad tenant that had to be evicted and the apartment totally repaired from damage, among other small things. I was blamed for most of the occurrences (since I was suppose to be taking care of things) and just accepted it because I understood what was happening.

. I continued to do what Nan had asked me to do. As her condition worsened we moved her out of her boyfriends apartment into her house, in which we were currently living and renovating. I hired help during the day to watch over her and eventually by the second year had to hire an overnight home health care nurse as her Alzheimer’s worsened.

. The boyfriend’s duplex was repaired, and sold for a large profit. This made the wolves at the door salivate.

. My aunt had a serious car accident, she was not injured, but she lost her license. This event became a major set back for her emotionally. The upstairs apartment was re-rented to a nice young girl who decided I was the enemy and became very protective of my aunt. My sister was still living upstairs in the other apartment but it had been over a year since I saw her and she would not answer my phone calls.

. By year 3 Nan had deteriorated so much she could barely walk, getting good night help became a problem since Nan would now refuse to listen to anyone but me. I was operating on 3 hours a night sleep and it was beginning to stress me out. I sat down with Nan in one of her more coherent moments and we discussed her moving into a nursing home. She agreed and selected the one she wanted. That move caused a furor in the family claiming that was my intention all along and my aunt became even more paranoid that I was going to do the same thing to her and take all the money.

. We finished the renovation of Nans old house and put it up for sale. A bidding war ensured and the property was sold for several hundred thousand over the asking price. The vultures were very restless with this amount of money being deposited into Nans account. (It is very hard to sneeze twice in New Orleans without everyone knowing about it.) With the help of the accountant the money was invested and protected. With the sale of the house, we moved to the third property in Lacombe, about 25 minutes outside of New Orleans.

. My departure from the city allowed my sister to encourage the family to take full control of my aunt, which they did. All of a sudden my services were needed less and less as my aunt would state, “my family will take care of that, and if I need your help, someone will let you know.”

. Then my aunt decided, with assistance of course, that she no longer wanted to share lawyers with Nan and wanted her own lawyer. I tried to convince her that this would not be in her best interest since Nan’s lawyer was the best in town, but my aunt was unwavering. So I agreed.

. Once she had her new lawyer, her next step was to remove my power of attorney and give it to my cousin, whom I knew without a doubt, along with my sister, was the force behind everything.

. I did what I could to help my aunt by obeying her wishes as much as possible. I came into town daily to visit Nan and check on her progress, and I would also go by my aunt’s house to check on her. However, now my aunt insisted that someone else always be present when I came over, as she was not sure she could trust me. So the upstairs tenant would be called down or we would stand outside the house so the neighbors could see.

Alzheimer’s is without a doubt devastating, but at the same time it is quite amazing, for even though Nans deterioration was escalating at a daily rate, she would have moments of complete clarity where she would tell me how the nurses were treating her, asking about the properties, her accounts, and we would have normal conversations about everyday things, and then she would just fade back into that empty space. There was only one glitch with these awakenings, when she talked about the nurses it was what was happening currently, but when she talked about life and people, she would pick up where she left off, the exact time before the onset of the disease.   Here again, I was the only one visiting her and even though I would offer my observances to my aunt, she no longer pretended to be interested, she only wanted updates on the money. At the same time I began to see the signs of deterioration in my aunt: she would repeat the same statement two or three times in a row, loose track of the date or year and she was frequently disoriented, and she would become hostile if I asked too many questions or if I made too many suggestions. A perfect example: I would suggest we visit the doctor so he could check on her medication (a year previous her doctor had prescribed a memory medication.) She told me that “her family” (I was not included in that group it seems) convinced her that this medication was harming her and she had stopped taking it, and she thought I was just trying to make her sick so I could put her into a nursing home.  There was no convincing her otherwise.

. My sister was now doing all the little things I use to do: cooking, small repairs, making arrangements, going with her to social functions…etc. This additional rejection emotionally stressed me even further and I sought council with the mother superior at the nursing home, who advised me to stop trying to be a martyr and let God do what needed to be done. So I took one step back, and then another.

. The work on Lacombe was continuing. It was a beautiful piece of property, 4 acres on a running stream filled with ancient oaks with 15-foot trunk circumferences. The house itself was a miniature plantation style house, built in the 1930’s and badly in need of repair. Living in New Mexico I truly missed the sound of water and the green and this place seem to wrap its arms around me. We had finished the renovation of our old adobe in New Mexico before coming to Louisiana and we talked about maybe it was time to move on. I felt my continuing obligation to Nan and in spite of how my aunt was treating me, I thought if I was living closer in a more permanent situation I could at least keep an eye on her and protect her as best as I could.

Sitting down with Nan’s attorney he did not see any problem and would go ahead and draw up the papers for us to buy the property at a fair market value. We then put our house in New Mexico up for sale and within 3 days of it going to market there was a bidding war; we took the highest bid and the deed was done.

Oh, but fate and karma can be most wicked, for as soon as I announced that we had sold our home in New Mexico, would be buying the Lacombe property and staying in Louisiana, Capitán came into town.

I had stopped being a martyr, but I still foolishly held onto my beautiful illusions, my love and empathy for my aunt and Nan unrelenting and my need to fulfill my promise made me dig in my heels and stand my ground. The family had brought in the big gun and my life was to become a small nightmare.

“I have dined with kings and danced with paupers.” Anonymous

Woman with Fish and Dog
oil on canvas, 112×92 cm (44×36)

In my late twenties I was convinced that there would be no social security by the time I was ready to retire. However, at the time, that did not matter too much as I was also convinced I would be dead by the time I was 35.

Never shy about entering an open door, when I graduated from college I hit the world like a windstorm. I finally settled down a bit in my late 20’s, got married, made use of my education and became an artist; but by then I had already been more places, done more things, had more adventures than most people do in a lifetime.  Nothing was planned. No thinking ahead. Just seeing life as a never-ending adventure, riding whatever wave came my way. When I think about it, I must have gone through time warps to manage fitting so much into so little time.

I am not bragging, just stating facts; and telling you this because of my new continuing awareness. Realizing I am where I am today because of that lifestyle. Spent so much time teetering on the edge of  the cliff, I think I may have spouted permanent roots. So now I am wondering, if I haven’t died already by accident or fault of another, or some earthly disaster, or physical malady, then I am still around for a purpose.  And if part of this purpose is understanding everything or seeing everything with such clarity……..does that mean when there is nothing left to see or learn or do – I will die?

Mind you, I have no fear of death; it would be like moving on to the next adventure. Well we can’t live forever, although I would not mind giving it a try for one or two centuries. I would also like being rich for a few years.  I would like the opportunity to do something really good with a great deal of money. Maybe that is why I am poor!  Hahaha! Anyway, my mind tends to play scenarios with itself as I find new ways to amuse my days.

Last week I received a most marvelous letter from the President of the National Association of Women Artists in New York.  A very old and prestigious organization of which I am proud to be a long-standing member. In the letter, she complimented me on my work, said some pretty wonderful things and added that the organization was honored to have me as a member.  Whew! Took my breath away for a moment, made me feel very fortunate, very humbled, very honored. Never before have I received such a letter.

On another front, the food pantry asked me to come back!  One of their employees lives close to me and has offered to give me a ride into town twice a week and back home again.  Next week I can do something constructive again, even if it is just as a volunteer!  Went into town earlier this week and submitted my application to a few high-end retail stores and a bakery complimenting my existing on-line applications.  With the holiday season coming around, something even temporary, may come into being.  I am hopeful

The new painting above: Woman with Fish and Dog, is a recycled canvas…. I have 6 more that can be painted over without causing me too much agony.  This one is definitely a melding of the fish drawings and Works in Blue. Felt a need to paint one of my women again, even though the market for such work died a slow death with the recession.

I am also working on a new painting for my ongoing Houses series, which I have hopes of one day, before I die, actually having a show with the complete works all together!

The Balloon Fiesta is over, all the tourist have gone home and with them the cold snap.  Indian Summer has settled into the high mountains. The air crisp, dry and clean, the sky an intense blue, the nights cold.  The days seem to quietly flow one into another here as I work in my studio, or sit at the computer with nowhere to go and less to do. I find in my heart, I am dining with kings and dancing with paupers!

Not too shabby…..