Illustrating Alzheimer’s Disease
Andy Dayton, Associate Web Producer
Not too long ago I was looking through our Flickr account when I came upon a series of beautiful charcoal drawings. They were sent in a few months ago by Laurie Kugner, who responded to our invitation for listeners to write in about Alzheimer’s disease.
The images are of Laurie’s father, and they really deepen the story of his struggle with Alzheimer’s. Looking at this image, I see the loss of her father’s independence:
Rarely a man to watch television, except briefly as he passed through the room while executing various self-assigned maintenance tasks, he was undone when he could no longer perform even the simple fix-it jobs. There was no longer any way for him to feed his spirit, to feed his soul through his intellect that often lived through his hands.
And while the subject is difficult, Laurie’s essay isn’t without an understanding of the growth that came from dealing with her father’s disease. She also writes about the familial bond strengthened by shared pain:
My parents never really had needs of us, or even requests. They very much believed in letting us live our own lives without interference from them. This experience changed that and though it was difficult, it was also beautiful. We were re-forged as a family. Our personalities became more intense, more saturated, and our relationships evolved as we moved through the life cycle of the disease.