The Jim Gray Gallery
You never know...
Updated: Mar 29, 2019
Sometimes, there are sad or disappointing times that lead to realizations of Joy.
It is my hope sharing Jim's and Fran's story through these paintings, may in some way help other folks who are caregivers, to see that there can be wondrous good things that can come out of what seems only sad or disheartening or painful. So keep an expectant eye out for that rainbow after the storm.
Jim Gray broke his arm at six years old and, because the arm never gained back the range of motion, it kept him from playing sports. Yet, this led him to focus on the hand and what he could do with a pencil, a carving knife, or a lump of sculptor's clay. His brushes took him places a baseball probably never would have. He never pitched a no hitter... but in sculpting a bronze statue of Dolly Parton, he sure knocked it out of the park!
Jim left the Navy Reserves, that all his Mobile buddies were signing up for, and went into the Air Force based on a recruiter's "promise" that he would be a flyer. However, his eyesight was not good enough to be a flyer, so he did not make a career of the service, but continued with his art. Also, it was the Air Base in Illinois that brought him in range of Fran! Not being a flyer, he opted out at the end of his four years. Had he been a flyer, he would have also been going to Korea, instead of back to Mobile with his new bride.
The years when his Dad was living with Alzheimer's gave Jim experiences that he shared with me, and those stories gave me ways to help him see that our love was stronger than the disease. This touched his heart and mine.
One day at Jill's House, Dad was just lost. He was sitting in a chair and getting angry at the whole situation of not really knowing what he was supposed to do anymore. He stood up at his walker, then he lifted it about 6 inches and banged it down hard on the floor in frustration. I was just coming in, and I walked over and asked what he was upset about. He did not really know, but that did not make it any better. I got him to sit back down, and I sat on the arm of the chair and hugged him. He relaxed a bit and I just started stroking his head and loving him for about five minutes. He finally said, "that is such a comfort" "I don't know how to tell you what a peaceful comfort it is to have you here just doing what you are doing". He had forgotten about being angry.
I told him that I love him, and he said "I love you too, my Daddy, my buddy".
I don't think he really thought I was his Dad, but the comfort he felt took him back to some distant memory and the peace he knew then.
It is moments like that... those pure love moments... that help us all get through the tough times.
Wishing peace for all who live with dementia, and those who care for folks living with Dementia.