Saturday, 13 August 2011

Summer Therapy

Its been a tough month. My beloved grandmother has taken a turn with her already failing health and I have found myself in and out of hospital emergency rooms, doctor's offices, and an ambulance all in the past few weeks. At 83 years old she is the toughest person I know, and determined to remain independent despite the odds being stacked against her. My role as her advocate is to make sure that she remains safe, independent and maintains dignity, as times get difficult.

In an interesting collision of my personal and professional lives, I am also currently designing a course that looks at the intersections of disability and aging. No matter how much theory one reads and analyzes, when it’s your own it is so much more difficult. The tensions between independence and safety, health and well being, professional and personal become more and more apparent with each passing day. My mom, who is a geriatric nurse herself, is shocked at how difficult the last few weeks have been for her. Despite working in this field everyday, when it’s your own loved one who needs constant support it can be incredibly physically and emotionally draining.

It can also be amazingly rewarding. I have spent more time with my grandmother in the last month that I had in the several previous months and have relished reliving old memories, providing her with the small comforts of a foot or hand rub, and knitting at her bedside while she reads me articles from the newspaper. This experience has brought be back to being a little girl, raised by two fiercely strong women - my mother and grandmother - and I wouldn't trade a second of it. Knitting has played an important role in our time together. Unable to knit due to arthritis in her hands, my grandmother helps me wind soft skeins into balls, picks out projects for me and critiques certain colour choices I have made as being too bold. In the span of an afternoon she can make me laugh, cry, feel anger, love and sadness; her importance in my life has become startlingly clear to me.

The future is uncertain, but I am lucky enough to have a support system of my incredible mother, loving partner and supportive best friends. This morning I indulged in some summer therapy by attending The Stop’s Saturday market at Wychwood Art Barns. This wonderful market is a gathering of local farmers and food cultivators. Everything that is sold at the market is either grown locally or made with local ingredients. It was wonderful getting out in the sunshine and enjoying people watching and munching on local yumminess. I also dusted off my camera and took a few photos, some of which are below. If you are in Toronto and in need of some free summer therapy I would highly recommend it.  


One of The Stop's Community Gardens

Marigold in black & white

Inviting pathway and arch

Love the intricacies of old, cracked wood

My heaven will be filled with bread baskets

Market Stall

Ruby red beets

Remember the old days, we ate so good

With all this healthy food around, who could resist a freshly made donut?

Sugar Mama donuts. Delicious! 

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