Well, I still haven’t got my studio set up. I haven’t had a session with my new models yet. I haven’t got much of anything done this month. I got home from my last trip to Long Beach on September 17th, after spending the weekend with my dad. He seemed to be doing better, at least well enough that I could come home and take care of life in Utah.
I took artwork to The Red Fox in Logan, Utah, for the Block Film Festival and the Gallery Walk that are happening on September 28-29. I got a load of art supplies ready to take to my studio, and I had my first model set to sit for me. I met -through Skype- Mark Roth, who will be acting as my creative practice adviser.
Then, on Friday the 21, I got another phone call about my dad. His doctors were very concerned and didn’t think he would live through the weekend. I immediately booked a flight for the next morning, and drove straight to the hospital. I slept here for two nights, terrified by every gurgle and moan he made. Miraculously he is still alive, sitting across from me today. Some days he is more coherent and seems comfortable, some days he doesn’t seem to recognize any of us and is in great pain. My family and I made the difficult decision to begin hospice care, to remove his feeding tubes, to medicate for pain relief, and we are waiting for my father to pass. I am glad that I can share his last few days with him, that I can offer some sense of comfort and love by reading to him, holding his hand, just being here.
I haven’t got any art done. I haven’t got much research or reading done. I don’t have a lot of progress to report. I’ve doodled, I’ve tried a bit. All I can say right now is that I am exhausted. My heart, my mind, and my body are heavy with lack of sleep, tears, and uncomfortable hospital beds. I left the rest of my life on hold to be here when my father leaves this plane.
I hope that you never have to watch someone you love steadily diminish. It’s been a terrible, long, unforgiving process, watching Multiple Sclerosis steal my dad from me. I’ve watched helplessly as his body slowly betrayed him, as his mind quietly began slipping away. I’ve watched him lose his independence, his mobility, and lastly, his autonomy. I hate that the disease has stealthily eaten his life away. But it’s never taken away his spirit, his optimism. I have never, in 34 years, ever heard my dad complain about anything regarding himself. He’s never given in to despair, he never wanted anyone to pity him. I hope I learned his optimism, his strength of heart.
I’m going to stop this post, and continue reading to him. Hug your loved ones tight.