It’s Been A While

It’s been some time since I have updated my blog. In fact, it’s been nearly ten months. There is a reason for this, actually two reasons. The first one is that over all, I haven’t had much to say. I’m not an exciting person and don’t have enough in my life to write about and for the most part, I keep this blog as a small extension of my photography. The second reason is that if you have read the post before this one you know that at that time I had taken on the task of being my grandmothers caregiver as she was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Since that post, things have happened and there have been issues. If you care to know about them, I will summarize them below as an update to this blog.

 

My grandmother moved in with myself and my family at the beginning of October 2015 and at the end of November that same year I made my last post on this blog until now. At the time I said I had a singular subject to photograph in her and would stick to mostly the good moments of what I capture until I feel to do otherwise. Well, soon came that otherwise moment as she began to slip away more and more. I documented this through photographs and even a few videos. They were raw and graphic. I won’t say they weren’t upsetting as I know they were. My family and I lived it every single day and I decided that presenting this information in its rawest form to others would help bring to light what Alzheimer’s truly is. I mean I thought I knew but then I got a real hard lesson. I found others and others found me and we shared these experiences together. Even with sharing them only those that live it can understand what really goes on. We found support in each other. Sadly, support from some of my family members wasn’t all there.

 

Like I said, these images and even a few videos were raw and really cut to what Alzheimer’s is and even then they weren’t the full picture. Try being alone with a family member and having to clean and dress them because they messed themselves. Now you have to clean them all while they cry and scream. You later find certain bio matter on yourself that you have to clean off as well. It’s a very hard experience. That’s just one example but there is so much more of the things that go on. While bringing to light some of these things like the uncontrolled crying that comes from nowhere I had some family members not care to see what I was sharing and detested that I was doing so in an open way. I did have others that were supportive but even more that weren’t. Things were being said and no one was talking to me directly. The one’s that did were two uncles of which one called me to verbally jump and bash me while another got pretty colorful with his words and actions though we were able to talked things out. Never the less, there were others who just as easily could have talked to me as we try to resolve the issue but that never came about. The end result is that I went back to having not much family communication as I have for years and that’s fine. At the same time I built better bonds with others who while saw the images as hard to take in, they understood my reasoning.

 

All of this has left me with a bigger drive though. A drive to live in this world and do more to help others and causes I believe in. If I can do it through my photography then that’s even better. I am not in a position to be one to go out and capture certain things to raise awareness at this time. The Alzheimer’s thing I did have the ability to because I lived with it every single day along with my wife, my father and my mother. I hope my images were able to do something in this world. Maybe help another dealing with Alzheimer’s in their family or others to understand that’s its more than just one losing their memories. Believe me, it’s so much more than that.

 

In June, my grandmother passed away. It was sad but a good thing. Truthfully, there was a part of me that was happy. No amount of description can paint the picture of life at the end of Alzheimer’s and the damage it does. I took no photographs at this time with the last one being of her sleeping. I then took one video to show a strange sound she would make all day. That video showed and recorded the last sounds she made during her mortal life before she went silent. Still alive but totally silent as she slipped away. So yeah, I was happy for her when she died. The woman lived a life of travel. She was also very opinionated and into her golden years could hold quite the conversation about life and the world around her. Alzheimer’s took that away. I’m not religious, I’m not spiritual, I’m not really anything. Though, if there is something, I like to think she is back to the woman I knew growing up with everything that Alzheimer’s took from her restored.

 

So yeah, it’s been a long while since I’ve made an update to this blog. I don’t know when the next one will be. Again, I’m pretty boring. But you can follow me on social media. We can follow each other. If you like, check out my Instagram and go back a little ways and see some of what I documented with my grandmother because while there is raw material that is quite sad, there is also some really great stuff in there too. Stuff I will keep as fond memories for as long as I can.

 

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Photographing A Singular Subject

I’ve never been one to photograph a subject matter or do a project. I just always shot things that I saw in front of me and wanted to capture. Sometimes just to capture it and others time to see it how the camera sees it as it has a way of bringing things out if a different way. Recently though I’ve found myself not only shooting a subject and in a way, kind of documenting it but I’m also living with it.

Some time ago my grandmother moved in and she has Alzheimer’s and dementia. I spent a lot of time preparing for her moving in where I read all sorts of information and watched all sorts of videos as I was to become her primary caregiver during the day time hours. I quickly found that all that learning, while a help, is nothing like getting the experience firsthand but the same could be said for most everything in this world.

Now I knew I would take photographs of her while here. I figured it would be something to share with other family members so they could see her living life and would be a nice way to keep up with what was going on other than just through phone calls. It quickly turned into me documenting her life and while not in full detail it’s been more than I expected. So much so that for the first time in the years I have been taking pictures I can honestly say I have a project or a subject matter. I try not to think of it that way as somehow I feel it a bit disrespectful being my grandmother and all but sometimes things are what they are.

At this point I’m no advocate for Alzheimer’s and dementia as my images have been of peaceful times. The truth of the matter is, this lifestyle of being a caregiver to one with a mind not at 100% working ability is a tough one. It’s mentally and physically exhausting. I never thought I would have to clean up things from my own grandmother that require me wearing gloves or even having to bath her because of an accident while she cries and begs me to not look. It really kills you inside. My images show none of this or any other moments of struggle and hardship and right now, I don’t care for them to. At this point in time what I document and what I share will be of good things and only share something not so good if it’s really worth doing so as part of the narrative and even then I’m not really documenting this all to the best it could be done. As such if you wish to follow along you can find some of my images posted on my Flickr gallery while I post more and random stuff through my recently activated Instagram account.

Links for both can be found here…
www.DecayStudio.com

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