C Earles. Watercolor. The Internet Journal of Academic Physician Assistants. 2008 Volume 7 Number 1.
a work by Cheryl Earles
used by permission
watercolor art by her mother, Mary Earles,
diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 2007
As the hues of the watercolor diminish
from bold shades to whispers of pale tint,
the woman I know slips slowly away.
Oft time she looks without seeing, hears without understanding
and waivers on the brink of no longer being part of this world.
Her finger is carefully placed upon the printed page,
purposefully touching each word to no avail.
At the end of the line
they are merely a collection of images that,
yet again, mean nothing.
She is frightened of the monster consuming her mind
and looks to me for an answer.
I have no words,
for I cannot utter the name of her nemesis
in fear that she will hear it in a moment of clarity
and realize the dreadful fate placed before her.
Nor can I address it aloud
because it resounds like a gavel
imposing an unspeakable sentence
we do not wish to hear pronounced.
Myself? I am imprisoned with her
living my days trying not to weep for the loss of an artist,
a nurturer of all creatures great and small,
I console her with words of silken lies,
because words of truth would be as cruel as her destiny.
Helpless, I shall continue to watch her fade away,
like a canvas left hanging in the noonday sun
until the image is consumed by its rays;
and I silently remain keeper of the knowledge
that black darkness will soon step in
where there once was color and light.