Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Look Inside an Art Journal

If you've read my blog for any length of time now, you have probably seen photos of my mother during her visits to our home.  You have seen us creating art together, sorting our stamp haul from the auction, teaching each other one craft or another, visiting interesting places together.  Within the last decade, she has lived in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky--always too far from my Pennsylvania home for my taste, but always making time for visits with me and her granddaughters.

What you may not know from the photos, though, is that besides being a loving and supportive mother, my mom is also a caregiver.  Eighteen months ago, her husband had a massive stroke, and he has remained bed-bound and dependent on my mother for his most basic needs, such as grooming and bathrooming.  His hospital-style bed occupies their living room so that he will not feel isolated in a back bedroom.  A nurse comes periodically to check his medications, and a "bath lady" comes as well.  Therapists come, and then they don't--my mom and her husband are at the mercy of outside evaluators who determine if there is enough promise of improvement to provide services once in awhile. 

My mother's dream is that her husband will someday be able to be transferred from his bed to a wheelchair; it would open up the whole world to him, in a sense.  The chances are very small.  According the brain scans, the stroke has wiped out one-third of his brain-functioning, and it is very difficult for him to remain focused, to follow through with therapies, to track what's going on with his own body.  Mainly, he knows tiredness and frustration.  And heaven knows, tiredness and frustration are pretty much what Mom has known for the last year-and-a-half, without a break, as well.

That's not to say that there haven't been some bright spots to celebrate along the way.  A couple of amazing women have entered their lives to offer aid and friendship when my mother has needed it most.  Old friends have fixed the deck and helped out with that sort of heavy-duty home maintenance.  Neighbors have cut grass and trimmed trees.  An honest roofer has been trying to help Mom with a leak in her roof, without charging for initial failed attempts.  Mom has made lots of visits to keep up with her grandaughters in Philadelphia and her grandsons in Atlanta.

And...Mom has discovered a real talent and affinity for art.  She has always used her creativity in sewing, cross-stitch, and quilting, among other things.  But now she has moved into drawing, mail art, and art journaling.  She brought her first art journal, almost completely filled now, to share with me this past weekend during her visit, and gave me permission to take some photos and share it with you on my blog.  

I'm not going to make any comments on her pages, but I hope that you will look through them, and listen for all that they speak about her life, her heartache, her healing, her creativity, and her faith.
Mom's art journal cover

12 comments:

Janet said...

Thank you (and your mom) for letting us have a peek inside her amazing art journal. So many of the pages spoke to me...she has a special way of sharing her life through her art.

scrapwordsmom said...

I appreciate hearing this story about your Mom and I enjoyed seeing her pages. What a healing process art journaling is. I know this brings joy to her hard days.

I especially love the one with all the triangle papers on it and the flower one. Thanks for sharing these!!!

Leslie

April Cole said...

WOW!!
Now, I know where your talent came from. ~xx
This was such a beautiful story to share, your mother opening her,life, heart, and art with us... "THANK YOU!" :]
What a treasure, this art journal is now, and forever.

Caatje said...

Amazing! Your mom rocks, no doubt about it. It's also wonderful she finds a creative outlet in art journaling in what must be trying times. Good luck to her and her husband and I hope she will show us more pages in the future.

donna!ee said...

thank you & your mom for sharing, blest be the tie that binds! ;D

PamelaArtsinSF said...

Wow! You mom is amazing. I am so impressed she can collage in her journal like that while right in the middle of her difficult situation. I can only work in art when I have some distance from what is troubling me. (I may not be explaining this right). The collages are great and my bnest wishes to both her and her husband.

Parabolic Muse said...

Wow, Andria. We're honored to see these pages. This is a moving story. Through my life there have been several trials similar to this (they are never the same), and it will try the best of us. Your mom is an amazing person and I will hold her in my thoughts.

Please thank her for sharing these pages.

Anne said...

I know this is Andria's blog but I just want to thank all of you for your kind words and good thoughts. It's clear to me why she feels she has made such great connections with so many of you. Another thing you don't know about me -- I've often been inspired by your blogs that I check out frequently! So thanks for that also.

laurie said...

it is obvious, just from her journal, that your mom has a big heart and a creative spirit. you are so fortunate to share interests and hobbies with her. and she is lucky to have you, too!

Karenann Young said...

Wow! Thank you and your mother for sharing her journal with us. It was so very, very touching. It really brought me down to earth, so to speak about what other people go through and how my little things that bother me are so small. You and her are very special people. You are all in my prayers.

Karenann Young said...

Wow! Thank you and your mother for sharing her journal with us. It was so very, very touching. It really brought me down to earth, so to speak about what other people go through and how my little things that bother me are so small. You and her are very special people. You are all in my prayers.

VivJM said...

Your mum is awesome!!