My grandmother, grandpa & mother
My grandmother, grandpa & mother

My grandmother died when I was in high school. I didn’t really get the chance to know her, who she was, what it was like to be with her, outside of the nursing home. I remember when I was really young, she could sing Christmas carols with us. But really, my grandmother didn’t know me, her daughters, her husband anymore. She was diagnosed with dementia in her 50’s. I’m now in my 40’s and am realizing just how young she was.

My husband's grandmother and mom
My husband’s grandmother and mom

My husband’s grandmother is now in a care facility with dementia. She is still functioning pretty well with her communication and mobility. The decline has been slow and gentle. I am so thankful that my husband and his family have had a full and rich life with her. I wish I had known my grandmother in the same way.

We also have a friend who lost her husband this past year, also diagnosed with dementia. He was young, in his 50’s. And we have another friend who cared for his mother at home as long as he and his wife were able before having to place her in a care facility.

Watching someone lose the very personality that has defined her life is tragic. The mind becomes so tangled, playing tricks, hiding memories, losing connections in the brain. I watch how my family and friends’ have and are handling their loved ones’¬†decline and am in awe by the raw power of unconditional love and honor.

So when I am in my studio, these deep things well up in me and pour out of my mind into my hands. From the stories, the memories, the sorrow, a new encaustic jewelry series erupted yesterday: Tangled, pendants made in honor of all those affected by dementia.

Tangled 1
Tangled 1
Tangled 2
Tangled 2
Tangled 3
Tangled 3

I now have a pile of these pendants-in-the-making on my workbench. The pile will grow until my mind has poured out the grief.


5 thoughts on “Tangled

  1. monika Dery says:

    Hi Amanda,
    I’m going to take your jewelry workshop at Encausticon and am really looking forward to it. My mom is in a care facility (11 years now) and has gentle dementia. She’s actually fun to be with and smiles and talks a lot (in German). She loves her jokes and laughs uproariously after each one (we know it’s finished when she starts chuckling) and we can’t help but join in and sometimes we laugh so hard that we’re almost rolling on the floor…and don’t have a clue about the story or the punchline. It’s nice to see her happy and engaged…she just turned 97! I will try to bring some images of her as a young woman in very small sizes if I can get that organized and might try to incorporate them into the necklaces at some point. I have a trip planned to Germany to visit family next May after I finish an art exhibition in Amsterdam. Lots to think about, that’s for sure. Enjoy your family while you can! Monika http://www.onceinabluemoon.ca

  2. Jody says:

    Amanda, this series is so powerful. It hits close to home as I struggle with cognitive issues due to MS. Thank-you for sharing your heart once again.


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