The Alzheimer's diptych examines the confusion and anger that can accompany the disease and that pushes the afflicted person into a world where old troubles are relived along with new invented ones.

As my grandmother started to develop Alzheimer's our relationship changed significantly, allowing us the unexpected opportunity to discover new sides in one another.

These letterpress broadsheets were printed on fabric.

Edition of 10.

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Dark voices said she was too dark to be loved.  Dark voices said she was too light to love like a Mexican.  Dark voices told her she would have to defend her family.  Dark voices told her that her husband was cheating on her; that there should be more money, but that he was giving it away.  Dark voices said that something was going to happen to her loved ones, if she ever stopped praying for them. 

Dark voices said they were going to come for her.  They were going to come and make her ill.  They were going to come and steal her mind.

So she cursed out the people who called her nigger. She cursed out the ones who called her too white.  She yanked hair, scratched, and bit anybody who bothered her sisters.  She chased her husband with knives to make him come true.  And she burned weekly candles at the city church to keep her family and friends healthy. 

Her emotions grew louder and louder.  So she blocked her bedroom door with furniture to keep the boogieman away. 

She got angry, very angry.  And then she forgot.  She forgot her grievances.  She forgot about the people who had wronged her. She forgot about those who had stolen from her.  She forgot about where she had buried her husband.  She forgot about the arguments with her children. And she forgot about her never-ending love for her grandchildren. 

Then she forgot to open her eyes, and she forgot to be frightened. 

The voices stopped.  She could only hear a different, gentle murmur.  She could feel that someone was there to hold her hand, to wet her lips, to caress her skin, to say quiet prayers. And when she heard all the different murmurs she needed to hear and felt all she needed to feel, she remembered a life that was different.  A life full of joy and laughter.  A life full of hardships and wonderful treasures.  And then she remembered to let it all go. 


My grandmother died peacefully – in the presence of most of her children and only after even the tardiest of them finally arrived to say their peace.  Alzheimer’s disease took a lot from my grandmother, but in the end it could not take everything.  And in the course of our friendship, during which I was sometimes her sister, her mother, and her playmate, I never lost the friend I had in her.