In late 2022 I took a RISD class entitled Journal and Narrative. It was a six week course with different aspects each week but running throughout the course was an ongoing journal project. My intention was to journal and chronicle my day to day life being back in my family of origin caring for my aging mother after my father passed away. What follows is excerpts from my final project in the course.
It’s the little things. The reflection of light on the dark windows as the sun rises. It’s the perfect balance of rocks, one on top of the other, lending strength and support to create a sculpture. It’s the hour gained when the clocks turn back even though we lose light so much earlier. It’s the painting of the sink to change from white to blue. It’s the repeated question, again and then again, of something you just answered. It’s the little things that add weight and substance to our lives and add to, perhaps, significant changes over time, changes you didn’t envision and therefore didn’t see coming.
It’s cycles and changes and sometimes shocks that keep you moving forward without knowing how you got from one place to the other. It’s being both present, shit needs to get done, but also nostalgic for the past and wondering what the future will look like. It is multidimensionality at its core. This life is not linear. It is moving and dynamic and the more I want to press pause - I need a moment to breathe/rest/consider - the less I am able to grasp; hold onto time, make sense of the here and now.
My mother. My mother, what can I say? She is both here and not. Her memory is lucid and jumbled. I have been seeking a diagnosis for her because I feel I’d be better able to cope, manage, live if I had a tangible diagnosis. That seems farcical, though. What does a diagnosis matter if it doesn’t come with instructions, with a plan? I still need to clean up the mess. I still need to keep her safe. I still need to find a balance in my life that doesn’t destroy me. Or her. Or my marriage.