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.

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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 an iPod with a favourite music playlist .

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Καθώς διαβάζεις αυτές τις γραμμές κάπου στον κόσμο γονείς θρηνούν τα παιδιά τους.
Ένας αγαπημένος αποχαιρετά την/τον συντροφό του με την τελευταία του ανάσα.
Κάποιοι άλλοι ξυπνούν έχοντας χάσει τη δουλειά τους.
Ή την ικανότητα τους να αυτοεξυπηρετούνται μετά από ένα ατύχημα.
Άλλοι ψάχνουν στα συντρίμμια να βρουν τα απομεινάρια του σπιτιού τους.

Τραγικές καταστάσεις με δυσβάσταχτο πόνο. Πόνο που τον νιώθεις μέχρι το μεδούλι αν μπείς για λίγο στη θέση αυτών των ανθρώπων.
Κάντε το, σας παρακαλώ, για μία στιγμή ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Φανταστείτε τώρα τον πόνο κάποιου που του συμβαίνουν όλα αυτά μαζί μέσα στην ίδια μέρα…

Καλώς ήρθατε στην πραγματικότητα της νόσου Αλζχάϊμερ.

Έχω αυτό το γέρικο ξύλο στα χέρια μου & για κάποιο λόγο (βλέπε ΥΓ ) σκέφτομαι όλα αυτά.
Τον τρόμο του να μην έχεις πια συνείδηση του εαυτού σου.
Οι αναμνήσεις σου, οι άγκυρες σου στη ζωή, σπασμένες & εσύ να βολοδέρνεις.
Να μην μπορείς να ολοκληρώσεις την φράση ” Εγώ είμαι ” γιατί λείπουν όλα αυτά που της δίνουν νόημα.

Έτσι λοιπόν, αυτό το αρχοντικό ξύλο, το αλίκτυπο, με τις ζάρες, τις χαρακιές & τους ρόζους του, πήρε τη θέση του τριγυρισμένο από το “Εγώ είμαι” σε 46 διαφορετικές γλώσσες.
Ένας φόρος τιμής σε όλους όσους έδωσαν & δίνουν αυτή τη μάχη.

ΥΓ : Αξίζει να παρακολουθήσετε (αν δεν το έχετε κάνει ήδη ) το ντοκυμαντέρ ” Alive Inside “.
Τη μαγεία της μουσικής ενάντια στην αποξένωση της νοσου Αλζχάϊμερ.

Βλέποντας το θυμήθηκα τον παππού μου, τον Νίκο.

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Στα τελευταία του χρόνια μας αναγνώριζε όλο και πιό δύσκολα. Όταν πια δεν μας γνώριζε, θυμάμαι ότι του ζήταγα κάποιες φορές να μου πεί τον Ερωτόκριτο, που του άρεσε να μου τραγουδά.
Μπορεί να ήθελε λίγη βοήθεια στους πρώτους στίχους, αλλά μετά ποιός τον έπιανε !!
Μόλις τελείωνε γύρναγε και με αποκαλούσε όπως μόνο εκείνος έκανε- Κόλια, μου’λεγε.
Κοιτούσε τον πατέρα μου κι έβλεπε τον γιό του΄τον φώναζε να κάνουν ένα τσιγάρο παρέα…

Το “Alive Inside ” με βοήθησε να καταλάβω πώς (μετά τον Ερωτόκριτο) εμφανιζόταν αυτή η φλόγα στο μάτι του [ το ένα, γιατί το άλλο ήταν γυάλινο.
Επειδή στην Κατοχή, κάποιος καριόλης Γκεσταπίτης νευρίασε με την απάντηση που του έδωσε ο παππούς μου ._ ]

Σκεφτείτε το :
Κάποιες φορές η απόσταση που χωρίζει κάποιον τραγικά χαμένο από το να μπορεί καταφατικά να πει ” Εγώ είμαι ” , μπορεί να είναι τόσο μικρή όσο ένα iPod με αγαπημένα τραγούδια.

Driftwood, hand sculpted plaster 77 cm / Αλίκτυπο ξύλο, γύψος σκαλισμένος 77 εκ.

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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.

9 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.

    Talmage

    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

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