One of the things that first struck me when I looked at the space that is now my studio was the windows. And entire half wall of windows. While it isn’t the traditional north light that is the optimal lighting situation for artists, the morning light pours gloriously through the tree branches and leaves of the oak tree outside the third story windows. Not only did the tree provide perches for birds and squirrels, it also served as a model for sketches and paintings. The canopy of the tree never failed to cheer me throughout the seasons.
Late last fall, I came to the studio on a gray day. It was evident as soon as I opened the door that something was very different and it took a moment to figure it out. But suddenly I realized that the tree was gone. Completely disappeared. Vanished. I was stunned. The view was completely altered. No longer would I view the seasons through the tree. The view is now of a barren industrial landscape. Muddy and sterile.
The death of my mother-in-law has removed the canopy of her love from our lives and the view right now is pretty bleak. Dad continues to search of her and we are helpless to comfort him. We grieve and shed tears, sigh and try to move on.
This isn’t the end of our story, though. Just a transition. There will be new things planted. Better days are coming.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.