Friday, July 09, 2010

Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope





I am blessed and honored to have been one of 41 quilters whose works has been selected to travel in the next exhibit sponsored by the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. More than 125 quilts were submitted for consideration and it is an absolute delight to have mine among the 41 quilters/53 quilts selected.

Mama's Brain Got Tangles....But Mama's Still Inside will hang in between quilts made of 10,000 patches that honor individuals who have/had Alzheimer's or related dementia's. I have 14 patches amongst those and another one that could be added in. 15 members of my immediate family have faced or are facing the challenges of Alzheimer's Disease and its insidious and arduous disease process.

I am also blessed to be in my Douglas Island home right now...with my mother and father, helping them face the challenges of their lives as they go through the many processes of AD .....physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Each day that I spend with them is an immense gift though there are many days that I wonder how any of those with loved ones battling this disease can bear so many losses upon losses. I have found that the only way to do this is not to battle at all.

To paraphrase the wonderful Buddhist Nun, Pema Chodrun....you don't fight the process of anything, you simply accept it, and go into it and feel the peace that still lies within.

I can do that with both of them, as I can with those of other family members who are so filled up with emotions that sometimes it pours out, and sometimes it boils out, and sometimes it erupts like volcano. For the process of Alzheimer's Disease does not simply attack those who carry its processes, it affects entire families and challenges each of us in ways that we can not possibly imagine.... until we actually walk its path.

I listen, I feel, and I process each family member's pain and anger and loss. I take it in with a breath, and let it out again, with another. It just simply is....as my mother and father both are, and as I am.

AAQI 2011 Traveling Exhibit:
Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope
10,000 names of people who have or had Alzheimer's Disease are written in tribute to the 5.3 million Americans with this devastating disease on 182 quilts measuring six inches wide by seven feet tall. Displayed among them will be our Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts that illustrate Alzheimer's in some way. Quilts will begin traveling in January 2011.

LINKS:
Liberated Quilting Challenge
See the three quilts selected from our Liberated Challenge Group
See all of the selected quilts for this exhibit including my own 'Mama's Brain Got Tangles..."
The July Slow and Silent auction ends at 10pm on July 10, 2010. Please check out the quilts and consider making a bid on a quilt!

Liberated Quilting Challenge

Get the latest news about the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative on the AAQI BLOG!
For more frequent news follow the AAQI on FaceBook and Twitter.

12 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Michelle! A well-deserved honor!

    Alzheimer's is a terrible path to walk. Watching the disintegration of those we love is stressful and heart-breaking, but being present in their lives during the process helps ease their fear and confusion. My thoughts are with you...

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  2. I feel your pain, in the most terrible way. I am watching my children suffer as they watch my dad go downhill. Just four short years ago they had to watch their dad lose his mental abilities with a brain tumor and my dad's AD is like ripping open a barely scabbed wound. It is hard enough to endure myself, but the most terrible pain is in watching my children :(

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  3. I love your quilt. I LOVE your title and I'm so glad you were chosen. As my Mom starts to show signs I also am starting to know what others go through with their parents. My thougths are with you.

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  4. Lovely thoughtful piece Michele- You are a balm to others who struggle to deal with the challenges of Alzheimers- It is what it is and accepting the moment is a beautiful way to deal with it- No matter how challenging it gets - onesomehow finds the energy to get through to the next bright spot.
    Your quilt is lovely-thanks for sharing.
    Hugs,
    Anna

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  5. congratulations on your piece - your talent and heart belongs in that traveling caravan where it can be seen, appreciated and felt. Your words always soothe me and give me hope as this disease has its terrible grip on my family too.

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  6. I am so envious of your ability to actually put meaning into these art quilts. They just grab me and captivate me.

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  7. Ok, got to admit here. I agree with Bee. I don't normally like art quilts as much as traditional ones. I don't always 'get' them. But because you share your feelings they hit me like a ton of bricks and even though i don't have immediate family with Alz. I sure get it now and I feel for you and everybody else now. Thanks for sharing that with us.

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  8. You honor your mother and father in a sacred way, there is no greater love~ bless you and your time together with them.

    Congratulations on having your quilt selected to travel with the exhibition, little quilts with a BIG job to do! I have seen this show before and it is one intensely moving body of work.

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  9. Congrats Michelle, your quilt is beautiful. Like you our family has been touched by AD.

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  10. Michele, your tributes to your mama are beautiful. It's wonderful that you get to share them through this traveling art exhibition.

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  11. Oh Michele, super congratulations! How special and wunnerful.

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  12. what a joy you are to both your family and all of us whose life's you touch. glad you are part of such a wonderful quilt "show"

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.