Showing her stash
My mother had been a painter and sculptor, and had a great eye for beauty, color and form. She loved to arrange flowers and was quite good at it. It was one part of her personality that never went away. If she saw flowers or leaves that she liked, she would pick them.
Unfortunately it led to her eviction from her independent living facility. She was picking flowers in the garden and the other residents complained. The nurse said that the manager got right in her face, wagging his finger and saying, “Ginny, I told you not to pick the flowers!” She slapped him. They evicted her with 72 hours notice, even though she had lived there for six years.
I couldn’t tell if she retained the memory of that incident, but after that, she would hide whatever she’d picked. It could have been a function of the disease, as people with dementia often hide objects. Or it could have been her general desire to be mischievous and get away with something. Whatever the reason, her room, pockets and purse were always filled with purloined plants.
This photo and text appeared in the exhibition, "Two Belts," at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, January-March 2013.