My daddy and his girls!! This was taken about three years ago when my sister was visiting Colorado. At this time, Dad was showing signs of dementia but still able to hold onto thoughts about the past. His short term memory had disappeared many years ago. He could remember when he got his PhD and the subject of his dissertation but ask him what he had for breakfast and he would say with a little laugh, “I don’t remember.” Look at his smile! He was always jolly no matter the circumstance.
In 2015 I painted this butterfly for the Year of O’Keeffe at The Fine Arts Center. The butterflies are auctioned off annually and funds go to the arts community. This was a special year for the FAC with the O’Keeffe exhibit underway and my butterfly, “Georgia’s Wings” was auctioned at the Gala. The proceeds went toward the FAC and I was thrilled to know Penrose Hospital made the purchase. It is displayed in the courtyard.
In the latter part of June, my Dad suffered a major health episode and was taken by ambulance to Penrose Main. He underwent surgery and during the first part of his stay, he could see my butterfly. Every time we entered the hospital, there was Georgia’s Wings welcoming us and others into this special place of healing. My Dad’s condition was critical but slowly with the amazing care from the health professionals he was discharged and went to a rehab facility. From early morning visits to late evening when I went home, just walking by my butterfly gave me a feeling of hope. With each day, Dad improved, made progress, and after many weeks is now back at home. Do you know the Monarch butterfly travels 2,000 miles through the perils of the sky? Those paper thin wings carry them through rain, hail, and blustery winds. Georgia’s Wings were a reminder of God’s amazing butterfly creation and how the human body can be resilient too. In December my Dad turns 90, we look forward to celebrating with him!
Penrose Main Hospital…a beautiful place for healing.
Eventually Dad was moved to the 9th floor and here is a picture of an evening sunset.
I spent many hours in the hospital, and instead of just sitting, I brought along some stitching. It was a sampler I created with scrap material and ribbon. It helped pass the time and kept my hands moving. A little bit of creativity on-the-go also kept the worries at bay.
My sister and I put together a thank you basket for the nurses and health professionals on the 9th floor who were so amazing in caring for our Dad. This storm has passed for the time being and finally I feel my head is above water. Thankfully Dad lives close by and I can easily drop by to help with his physical therapy or make some conversation to keep his mind engaged. One thing is certain, though I had contemplated Dad’s health and consequences of old age, when it came knocking at my door, I had no idea the impact it would have on me. Perhaps some of you have already experienced this with an elderly parent. Sadly my mother passed away when I was 28 years old and she was only 50. She too spent time in Penrose Main during her final days battling cancer. Another special connection for me with this hospital and having my butterfly land in the courtyard. I am grateful for these amazing connectors to healing, and art. It was a privilege to paint “Georgia’s Wings” and an even greater blessing to engage with it during this turn of events in my life.