A Paintbrush In Her Other Hand

Quite a few years ago I was in an older couple’s home.  He was a photographer and had photographs everywhere.  Every single picture, of her.   One picture I found endearing more so than the others.  It was a small photograph.  She was on a step ladder, holding on with one hand, a paint brush in her other hand reaching to the sky.  She was looking down at him, laughing.  He took the picture to make it look like she was painting the sky.  I thought it was brilliant.  It made me laugh and we talked about his inspiration for it. 

He smiled, remembering.

She could not join us in that conversation, having lost the ability to remember, and the ability to speak.

So he did.  For both of them.

But in that picture, they were forever having fun together, laughing together.  Enjoying one another.  I think about that moment often.  Then I think of all of the moments they had from when that picture was taken-to the moment I was standing in their home and she was no longer an active participant of their lives.

I think often, of those fleeting moments.


I took my photograph and thought of them while I drew this.

Paint, Sky, Art













31 thoughts on “A Paintbrush In Her Other Hand

    • Thank you Cindy. This is one of those things, when going through it it is so difficult to ‘see’ and be powerless. Yet, afterwards, these things are what stand out. The things that remind me of what came before the disease. And what remained even after the disease tried to destroy.


  1. This is such a beautiful story in so many ways. He captured the moment perfectly and immortalized it in time forever. You recognized this for all it was and appreciated it. How wonderful


  2. Such a cruel disease. Such a lovely, loving, story.
    I once sat with a lady, and her husband, having lunch, in a dementia care home. She visited every day and spent many hours sitting with him, reading to him and telling him about what was going on in the world. He had no speech and little mobility. Her friends asked her to take a day each week for herself and asked why she went every day when he didn’t even know who she was. She said “But I know who he is. He’s my husband, and I love him!”
    I’ve told this story many times and cannot do so without a tear!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That is so touching, Colleen. What a wonderful moment he captured, frozen in time, for a lifetime, in his camera lens. It was the other way round for my Father-in-law, who had Alzheimer’s. He had been a keen amateur photographer & artist, and took photos of my Mother-in-law and painted her portrait too, over many years. Sadly, eventually losing his capacity to do the hobbies he loved & communicate verbally, towards the end, apart from the odd swear word. It was heartbreaking to see his steady decline, which took many years. When he was no longer able to be cared for at home, she visited him every day in the care home. Another display of true love.
    Maybe the lovely lady you met helped my Dad paint the sky in my poem, “Who Paints The Sky?” I hope they’re both still out there, creating beautiful dreamscapes!


  4. Such tenderness in the story of the photograph and the couple you visited. Photos do capture moments we hope we will always remember, and when someone we love no longer is capable of connecting those memories, that’s a tremendous loss. Your story touched me deeply. I love your illustration!


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