Editor’s Note: Sometimes the important matters of life will creep onto this site. In all honesty, I have had a hard time focusing on art while dealing with the death of my beloved Grandmother on August 30th. I thought I’d share because she was so very special to me. I look forward to jumping back into Culture Shock Art soon, but in the meantime I needed some closure. Thanks for understanding.
~Colony, Culture Shock Art
My Grandmother’s long battle against Alzheimer’s ended in the early morning hours of August 30st. As the only Grandparent I have known my entire life, her loss was particularly devastating to me. With Alzheimer’s the final goodbye was a slow, gradual one as she slipped into various stages of memory loss and dementia, but a few important things remained: her wicked sense of humor, her love of music and the joy she found in photos.
Grief took up residence in my heart over the last 12 days as I tried to manage it by keeping busy, helping my family prepare for her services over the weekend. I combed through pictures and listened to her collection of soundtrack and comedy albums.
During those days the whirl of memories fluttered around me. My grandmother was the matriarch of our family- her home was the epicenter of family gatherings of children, grandchildren, great grand children, siblings nephews and friends where we enjoyed meals, told stories, cracked jokes, ate peppermint and butterscotch candies, collected seashells, played bid whist and fought over who would take home the final slices of her famous apple pie.
Visiting home and spending time with my family, many of which I am not able to see regularly, we took comfort in assembling the pieces of my grandmother’s beautifully complex life. While it is unfortunate that loss unites us in tragedy, I am grateful for such a loving and supportive family and I will cherish the time that we were able to spend together.
While on the plane heading home yesterday the Southwest flight attendant launched his impromptu comedy set, heaping praise on the Oakland Raiders for their win, but he quickly ended on a somber note related to 9/11:
“Remember, ‘Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.’ I know at least one of you needed to hear that right now.”
It was at that moment that I had to send my grief packing. The memories of my grandmother will live on in my heart, not the pain from her loss.
In the meantime, Alzheimer’s is a menacing disease that I have no intention of ignoring. Because I could not visit my grandma as much as I wanted to, I spent countless hours in feeble attempts to understand more about the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association was a tremendous help to me, providing resources, kind words of support and much needed information for caretakers and loved ones.
Last week we created a memorial page for my grandmother, Velvia Lyle through the Alzheimer’s Association.
Please consider making a donation to help the association provide the support, care and research needed to minimize the effects of this disease. I want to thank all of my friends and family for their love, support, cards, kinds words, smiles, laughs and hugs.
Velvia C. Lyle Memorial Fund