33˝" x 33˝"
by Ami Simms
Mom and I have always been super close. After Dad died, the plan was to have Mom move in with us when she got tired of living alone. Alzheimer's forced the issue in the fall of 2001.
Steve and I took care of Mom for nearly 4˝ years. On January 20, 2006 I moved her into an Alzheimer’s facility because we could no longer keep her safe. It was the most difficult decision I've ever made. I was supposed to take care of her until the end.
Each decline in Mom's abilities meant taking over another small task. It was like another grain of sand, no big deal, so easy to do for someone you love so much. Only after she moved did I realize how much energy her care had taken, and how much of our lives it had consumed. Being "on duty" 24/7 felt like I was surrounded by a constant, underlying current.
The quilt's background is the anecdotal record of her loss, top to bottom, from the first signs, to her move to the Alzheimer's unit. The house, symbol of our love and family, is covered, literally, with the stresses of caregiving. Our dialogue (hers around the door, mine around the windows) is direct-printed on the sides of the house. Drug interactions on the roof represent my role as medical advocate. My darkest fears are printed around the heart: that I too will get this vile disease.