Let me paint you a picture
Last updated 5/3/2022 at 3:26pm | View PDF
As if by magic... as I sat down to write, it started sprinkling for a few minutes... any little bit is so needed right now!
My week has been dry and beige as usual, with one exception. I started volunteering with my friend and our two daughters at an assisted living facility. We took canvases, paints and brushes and we demonstrated our painting with step-by-step instructions and let the fun take place.
We heard stories of magnificent lives, some full of travel, experiences and family. We had a special education teacher with the warmest smile. An actress who was so elegant and told of some sets she performed on and helped design as well. When the staff was taking pictures of the residents with their paintings, she claimed she was in need of new head shots and jokingly asked if her hair was OK.
We met a fellow artist who just hadn't dipped her brush in some time, and we helped her find some motivation... we hope. We learned of some childhood memories from a retired soldier, and he imparted some life knowledge upon us that his mother had taught him. His interpretation of the painting was very fantastic and he explained what each brush stroke represented to him. It was an amazing interpretation of our sunset painting.
Did we see elements of dementia, Alzheimers and Parkinson's? ... yes, we did. Mostly we saw some people who really enjoyed new faces and were so happy to have visitors with whom they could share. The knowledge in that room left you awestruck. The feeling it gave me to help create those smiles will last until my end days. We enjoyed it so much that we will be going back every other week now; yes, they roped us in!
We walked out feeling appreciated and joy-filled... and tired. We went and got ice cream and re-lived the afternoon and shared what each of us experienced and the different things we learned and saw. We shared stories of our interactions with one lady who just had us laughing all of the time. Her mind was sharp witted and sassy, her body just wasn't keeping up with her. She was an ornery gal who said one-liners under her breath and would chuckle at herself or give you a wink or a nod, knowing you heard her. She is a riot. I am already working on our next project, small watercolor paintings on paper to turn into greeting cards that they can send for different occasions.
I cannot wait for what stories I will hear; I am aware that it may be the same ones I heard this time, but there may also be some new ones. To begin with, I am not doing it for me, but for them.
Be a light, and shine brightly for those who need it, do not hide your gifts but share them. Volunteer, you will not regret it!
You can contact Alice at [email protected]