Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Grandmother, Annette Conlon, passed away one year ago today. I made a little sketch of how I remembered her when I was young - she was always a gentle, loving presence in my life and used make one of my favorite treats, corton. It's a cooked pork spread that she used to serve on a slice of Wonder Bread. My family joked that it looked, smelled and tasted (according to them) like dogfood. I didn't mind at all, I was the kid that stole and ate the dog's milkbones. Corton would be what my younger self is eating there - it's very rough and I want to clean and color it.

When I was in college, she and I promised to make corton together at her house. Unfortunately, I couldn't make the time for the hour and a half trip to see her before she went into an assisted living home. This was because of the onset of Alzheimer's, so she did not have a kitchen of her own. We never got to make it together. But when I was going through some of her belongings this past December, I unearthed a hand-written recipe for corton which I assume she had written up for when I was to come visit, before she moved to the home. It was painful for me to read it, once i realized it's purpose. Her handwriting was shaky by then and some words were missing from her sentences. It was very painful to watch her slip away so slowly over those years at the home and it was even worse for her, because for a time she knew that she was losing her mind and couldn't stop it. But even when she slipped away and couldn't recognize her family anymore, she sort of regressed to being a child again; always bright, smiling and took to caring for a baby doll at the nursing home. The doll never left her side.

She named the doll Stephanie.

This is for you, Grandma. I love you.

I invite you to make a donation of any amount to the Alzheimer's Association. I made one today in her honor.


tom said...

you big jerk.
you had me tearing up at work today.

that's a beautiful story...i, too had a grandparent suffer from alzheimer's...when he passed, i promised myself that i'd always remember him for the great times we had together.

Heather Sybil Chavez said...

oh geez I agree with Tom, wheres the tissue. Your blog is very inspiring

Dillustration said...

Hey Steph, I found your blog via Art Jumble. A couple things.
One I can relate to a grandparent with Alzheimers... somewhat, as my G-Ma has the beginning stages of it. Thank you for reminding me to spend every moment I can with her.
Secondly, your art is AMAZING. I strictly work Illustrator too and its great to see what others are doing with vector. Really dig your style and textures. KEEP IT UP. I cant wait to see more.

Sarah Dicken said...

What a wonderful, heartbreaking, and also heartwarming story. Your grandmother was so wonderful, and so are you Steph. *Hugs*

Unknown said...

Hey Steph! You have some very wonderful memories of your Grandmother, that cute little drawing of you two together proves it. Losing family members is tough enough as it is. Just let me know when you are in town, I'll take you out for some ice cream!

Jackson Dryden said...

Very inspiring. It's great when you can capture a memory like that in a simple manner, yet it can mean so much. I hope all is well with you. One day, we should all hang out again soon!

Thomas F. Dougherty said...

Inspiring. Simple. Your best work.