June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month as well as my birthday month. Special occasions both challenge and inspire me to create a unique image to mark the occasion. A friend’s beautiful garden filled with lavender provided the perfect subject. The flowering herb is purple, the color associated with Alzheimer’s awareness, and according to flowermeaning.com, it represents “refinement, grace and elegance.” There could be no finer way to describe my mother.
To me, this image of one stem of lavender enveloped by others is akin to my experience on this journey as a child of one with Alzheimer’s. There are many facing the same illness as I am so often reminded when crossing paths with friends and when entering into conversations with people I meet. While the experience for each of us is different, we are all supported by those in our midst, and despite drought and weeds, we persevere. When we choose to look around the garden, there is beauty. It can be seen when the person living with dementia has a good day, when we receive the kindness of a friend, when we laugh instead of crying, and when we pause to put life in perspective. As the days move beyond this month with a special focus on a difficult disease, I give thanks for the continued support of those doing medical research, for those providing respite for family members, for the care partners who do heavy lifting every single day and for the many other flowers around my mother and others with Alzheimer’s.