I went down to the art studio this morning to make a start on another master. I don’t call them ‘old masters’ any more – who wants to be old? I didn’t have a canvas so I put an old painting of mine up on the easel, dipped a wide brush into the white paint to start the recycling process, and someone shouted, “Wait! Don’t do that! It’s such a beautiful painting!”
I looked up at the woman who had called out.
“Why are you going to destroy that painting? It’s lovely!”
“Would you like it?” I asked.
“I would love it,” she said.
“It’s yours,” I said. At last I’ve found someone who likes my paintings…
She invited me to come and see her collection, “But please come in the next 10 minutes – I have to go and give my husband his lunch.”
“Where is your husband?” I asked.
“What’s wrong with him?”
“Alzheimer’s.” That dreaded word again.
In her apartment I asked more questions about her husband.
“He has been there for 10 years,” she explained. “Ten long years of taking him meals, of caring for him, of feeding him, of not being recognized by him. This terrible disease ended his life long before its time and has virtually destroyed mine. It started so slowly we weren’t sure that anything was wrong. He was active in the city council and football league. He was a committee member and a coach. One day a couple of his best friends who were also committee members knocked on my door and said there was a problem. They couldn’t allow Sam at their meetings any more. Would I help them keep him away? I was heartbroken. From then it has just been one long slide downhill. And he’s still here! Physically there is nothing wrong with him. I think he will be here long after I’ve gone. Who will feed him then?”