Dot Art - Valentine

February 13, 2019, 8:45 pm 25°F (-4°C), cold and cloudy

It snowed about 5” overnight. I braved the challenging driving and went to the Art of Caregiving class this morning. Only 3 people showed up. Normally, we have about 15 people. Today’s class was about DOT ART. Appropriately, the instructor chose the heart shape for the Valentine’s day. On a black board, we traced the heart shape with a pencil and applied acrylic colors, in a dot pattern. For dots, we used the ends of a pencil, or a chop stick, or other small round pointed objects. This was fun class as we were on our own to create our own designs / patterns. It felt more like decorating than art, almost like making a rangoli.

Tomorrow will be the second anniversary of My Journey with Sumi which I started on the Valentine’s day in 2017. Having catalogued these 2 years, in 63,000 words, provides me a clear picture of how things have changed and changing.

Two years ago, on a Valentin’s day, Sumi and I went to the Buddy’s restaurant for pizza. Now, going out for dinners with Sumi is not possible. For a long time, Sumi and I used to go to Raksha and Devanshu’s house on Mondays for dinner. Sumi used to engage and enjoy with both Raksha and Devanshu, now it has become more difficult. On a flip side, Sumi was not enjoying company of visitors coming to our house. But lately, she engages with all visitors and her agitation and anger is diminished.

In 2017, I read extensively on the Alzheimer’s disease. What followed was introspection, reflection and acceptance. Over the last 2 years, lot of care givers came and went (on hourly basis or live-in). For the last one year Peggy, Khady and Kailash (for 6 months) become a steady force in our lives. Having more people in the house helped Sumi engage and enjoy with them.

Sumi and I are blessed with family, friends, relatives and countless angles in our lives who have visited us at our home or we have gone to their homes. Parini, Kevin, Jasen and Jessica visit us regularly. Last year, these visits, due to Sumi’s non-cooperation, were emotional roller-coaster for all of us. But lately, they are much more enjoyable and delightful.

One thing which has profoundly changed for me is - for a long time, I could not muster the courage to watch Sumi’s old photos. Reliving the old memories were painful and sometimes I would cry in solitude. Now, I have reconciled with myself to live in the two worlds of Sumi - My First Sumi and My Second Sumi. It is like two banks of the same river. On one bank my first Sumi lives and on the other bank my second Sumi lives. And there is a bridge over the river. The reality is that these both worlds co-exist simultaneously. I can’t lock up the former world in the deep recesses of my mind and forget about it. And, at the same time, I can’t ignore the current and real world. After a long period of soul-searching, I figured out that my well-being depends on crossing the bridge at will from one side of the river bank to the other seamlessly and balancing these two worlds without getting overwhelmed by either of them. Maintain Equanimity!
Dot Art