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I was reading someone’s blog recently who has a parent with dementia, and the parent is still in the earlier stages, where they’re very aware that they’re slipping. I remember how painful that time was for us – when my dad knew that he was having a harder time understanding the world around him, but still felt like a reasonably autonomous being. I remember how angry he would get at us for telling him he wasn’t understanding something, and how he pushed and pushed to be heard and treated like a competent adult, even when he no longer was. It had to be absolutely terrifying for him. There are times when I know I can’t trust my own brain, because I have a very strong history of depression (I’ll talk more about that in future posts), but I also generally trust that at some point, I’ll come out of the depression and be able to trust my world view. To be slipping and slipping and getting more and more confused, and knowing that it’s not going to get better, well, I’m not sure how people continue on. But, blessedly, they get to the point where they’re no longer aware that they’re not seeing the world as it is for the rest of us. They can trust that the people around them are looking out for them, like a child does. At some point, they forget that they’ve forgotten. Again, using the elephant as a symbol for dementia, this painting, from the Fractured Memories series, is about crossing over that line where we are still aware of what is happening to us.

Text reads:

Text reads: “and in his later years, a second childhood found him, and he forgot that he had forgotten”