I am


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As you are reading these lines somewhere in the world parents mourn their dead children.
A loved one says goodbye to his/her life’s companion with a last breath.
Others are looking at the dawn of a new day having lost their jobs.
Or the ability to perform simple every day tasks, as the result of an accident.
Some others are searching through the wreckage to find the remains of their home.

Great pain; the common thread of these tragic situations. Pain you can feel to your bones if you’ll step for a moment in their shoes.
Can you, please, do it now? Just for a few seconds………………………………………………………
……………………. Imagine now the magnitude of the pain of someone experiencing all the above situations in one day…

Welcome into the reality of Alzheimer’s disease.

These thoughts roam in my mind for some reason (see PS) as I hold this old driftwood.
The terror of not being conscious of yourself.
Your memories, your anchors in life’s sea, shattered; leaving you at the mercy of the waves.
Being unable to finish the sentence ” I am ” because everything that give its meaning are missing.

So, here I am with this noble driftwood which bears proudly the marks of a long journey.
It takes its place encompassed by the phrase “I am ” in 46 different languages.
A tribute to all that have & still are fighting this battle.

PS : If you haven’t already, watch the documentary ” Alive Inside” ; you won’t regret the time spent. Witness the magic of music as it pierces through the alienation inflicted by Alzheimer’s disease.

Watching it brought me memories of my grandfather, Nikolaos.


During his last years it became increasingly harder for him to recognize us. I remember that sometimes I was asking him to tell me a song he used to sing to me.
After a jump start with the first verses, he was on fire !
And then he would call me with the nickname he used; he would look at my father, seeing his son and sit together to have a smoke…

The ” Alive Inside ” film enabled me to understand how did that spark of life appear in his eye ( and I say eye, cause the other one was made of glass. Just because , during the II World War, some fucking Gestapo officer wasn’t pleased with an answer my grandpa gave him._ )

Think about it for a sec :
Sometimes, the gap between being tragically lost & being able to emphatically say ” I am ” can be as small as a pair of earphones and a favorite playlist.

Driftwood, hand sculpted plaster 77 cm

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I am in :
Arabic, Afrikaans, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Cebuano, Chinese, Czech, English, Esperanto, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Gujarati, Hansa, Hebrew, Hellenic, Hindi, Hmong, Igbo, Irish, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Latin, Lithuanian, Maori, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Sesotho, Sinhala, Sundanese, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, Welsh.


13 responses »

  1. Thank you for this message, Spira. It’s exactly what I needed to hear. I need to take the time to listen to music again. It was such a big part of my life as a kid, then I left that life behind and gradually pushed music to the side.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Spira. For this post. *The fact I am reading it 6 years later is no coincidence. So I insist.

    I am sorry for you and your family experiencing your grandfather’s struggle, more importantly for your grandfather’s struggle with a disease most insidious. Colored by my experience with my brother, I am not convinced those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are at a complete loss to what “once was”.

    Your post title is powerful. Your sculpture “Driftwood”, beautiful.

    Music. It is the air we breathe. It is power. It is magic.

    *Last month, I drove “home” the week of July 11 – 19. Purpose of trip – to visit with my brother living in a nursing home, suffering from dementia. Upon my return, I wrote a piece I titled “Driftwood”. A metaphor instant in my mind as I grew up close to the ocean, walking beaches collecting shells, sea glass and… driftwood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My God…you are very welcome Denise!
      What a gift have you given to this driftwood of a man…

      Coincidence is the way of the gods to remain unseen, goes the saying…

      I am sorry for your brother. It is a situation beyond our ability to completely fathom its burden – that is until it meets us.
      I am not convinced either Denise and that is the torture of it all.
      I am sure you have heard and experienced it all, so I am not going to say something more…

      (and as if someone is trying to give us a sign, I realised this very second the three I am above…)

      Nothing more…even if I was in person with you, the only thing to do now would be to sit and watch the ocean…and read your “Driftwood”.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you sincerely Bruce.
      I learned about your mom from your comment over at Ford’s. I am sorry for what she and you are going through.
      One thought only: as someone who has experienced this situation from both ends (having a family member with dementia and treating patients with Alzheimer ), having her at a good nursing home is a proper solution.
      I understand the emotion of guilt that may accompany such an option – but my friend, from countless patients with difficult problems I have treated for 25 years, the ones that drained me emotionally were the ones where I would go to an Alzheimer patient’s home.
      Now, I was there for an hour; imagine the burden of the person living there…

      Also, thank you for your thoughts about the situation with the fires here.
      It is utterly disheartening to witness this happening over and over again; the catastrophe, the media and political circus..

      Hoping you are well and settled in your new home . Take good care and if you can, play a favorite song of your mom’s to her next time you visit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My mum has been so much better since the move to the nursing home, she was rather isolated at her own home, and apart from myself saw very few people. Now she has made new friends at her new home and is really rather happy in herself. And again, my heartfelt sorrow on your situation with the terrible fires, I can’t even imagine what you’re all going through. Climate change is here, it’s real and yet our so called political leaders (or clowns, as i like to refer to them) are seemingly rather blase to the crisis, it’s infuriating! Stay safe and take care. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Echoes From A Voice Yet To Be Heard | inSPIRAtion

  4. There were tears in my eyes as I read your glorious piece and marveled at your impeccable artwork. The message is almost too much to bear; how can such a disease exist, one that ravages the minds, spirits and bodies of not only those physically afflicted but their caregivers who go through this nightmare with them?
    I have been there three times thus far: my father, my mother and now my sister’s husband. It is ever-present and I find myself wondering ‘who will be next?’
    Thank you, Nick, for this masterpiece. I have always imagined your heart to be huge and overflowing with a deep love for humanity and an acute awareness for the suffering in our world for the husbands, wives, lovers, parents, children, family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, the pure and beautiful souls who live with this insidious disease every moment of their lives.
    I was right. 💔

    Liked by 1 person

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