Finding common ground.

When I met Kathy for the first time I immediately felt a connection. The only thing I knew about her was that she had lost her husband to Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago and I was going to photograph her for the cover of the Alzheimer’s San Diego Newsletter. As soon as she opened the door her lovely smile made me feel right at home. As she showed me around her place I was drawn to an interesting wall, very different than anything else in the house or anything I had ever seen before. Once I asked her about it she told me her husband built it many years ago. I knew it had to be special and I could see right away the love and care it took to create it. I had to get a photo of her in front of this unique gem and while she sat in her evening chair she held a photo of them together. She mentioned the dress she was wearing in the photo and how he had bought it for her without any assistance…it fit like a glove.

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As our time progressed I took her to different spots in and around her home and one of my favorite images was her on a swing. She said it was for her grandchildren, but I knew I wanted to get her on it. We giggled like old girlfriends and it was then I knew I had the shot. Although the catalyst that brings me to these people is Alzheimer’s, there is so much more that is revealed in conversation. We share common ground and a feeling of togetherness.

As our time progressed I took her to different spots in and around her home and one of my favorite images was her on a swing. She said it was for her grandchildren, but I knew I wanted to get her on it. We giggled like old girlfriends and it was then I knew I had the shot. Although the catalyst that brings me to these people is Alzheimer’s, there is so much more that is revealed in conversation. We share common ground and a feeling of togetherness.

We came back into the house and I had her sit in the spot she sometimes spends during the day reading. As the natural light gently painted over her I was reminded of my favorite spot in my home. A soft green chair that I go to in the early morning hours to drink my tea, read and journal. These quiet moments are precious to me as I am sure they are for Kathy. A time to reflect on the one we lost and also the gratitude for those that are still here and make our lives worth living.

We came back into the house and I had her sit in the spot she sometimes spends during the day reading. As the natural light gently painted over her I was reminded of my favorite spot in my home. A soft green chair that I go to in the early morning hours to drink my tea, read and journal. These quiet moments are precious to me as I am sure they are for Kathy. A time to reflect on the one we lost and also the gratitude for those that are still here and make our lives worth living.

Once we had finished our photo shoot and I was packing up, a moment played out before me. Kathy looked so beautiful to me I said, “Wait, just one more photo.” She was very accomodating and I got the image which would turn out to be the cover photo. We finished our time together with a glass of kombucha and I knew this would not be the last time I would see her. I truly believe people come in and out of our lives for a reason. They are here to teach us something about ourselves. For me, Kathy will always be a lovely reminder to follow my intuition. These moments may last for just a split second, but if you follow that impulse there may be amazing beauty on the other side.

Once we had finished our photo shoot and I was packing up, a moment played out before me. Kathy looked so beautiful to me I said, “Wait, just one more photo.” She was very accomodating and I got the image which would turn out to be the cover photo. We finished our time together with a glass of kombucha and I knew this would not be the last time I would see her. I truly believe people come in and out of our lives for a reason. They are here to teach us something about ourselves. For me, Kathy will always be a lovely reminder to follow my intuition. These moments may last for just a split second, but if you follow that impulse there may be amazing beauty on the other side.