There have been so many teachable moments in my experience with Alzheimer's San Diego. It was this particular day that was very eye opening not only as a photographer but more importantly as a human being. For the first time since I started working with Alzheimer's SD over two years ago, I was faced with the real possibility I may get this disease and I was scared. All my sessions up until this point were with individuals that were in the early stages of the disease, still very coherent, articulate and enthusiastic to share their stories with me. What made this experience so emotional was that Nabile's mother was farther along and struggled with every word she tried to share. I kept my sadness hidden when all the while all I could see was myself much older and my daughter trying to care for me the best way she knew how...with laughter. As I watched Nabile and her wife interact with mom all they wanted to do was bring joy to the present moment. As a witness to such devotion my sadness turned into pure gratitude. Once again I was reminded that this was exactly where I should be and documenting this beautiful relationship was how I would bring value to this family and to many others like them.
We took a stroll outside to get some photos of everyone and it was wonderful. Love was ALWAYS present and it was that love that took me to another place in my thought process. It was no longer about me and my fears of this disease, but of the unbreakable bond between these three individuals and it was absolutely amazing. As we started to wrap up the session I asked them to hold hands and walk down the path in front of them. This became my favorite moment and image of the day. It was like seeing a work of art being created right in front of me. The significance of seeing them take this path together and knowing that they would always be there to love and support mom with every step was breathtaking. As a mother I did see myself with my daughter and felt completely at peace. As we get older there is always that feeling of never wanting to be a burden to our loved ones, but it's those people we want with us when you are feeling the most vulnerable and scared. I will do what I can to educate myself regarding this disease because it is the right thing to do not only for myself, but for my family.