The Power of Flowers and Photographs

I live in a part of the country blessed with unsurpassed natural beauty. When our part-time caregiver/home aides were here with Mom, who had dementia, I would take a couple of hours and head off by myself to a favorite park and or garden and walk, meditate, savor the peace and quiet, and take pictures of the beauty that always surrounded me. I never tire of experiencing those places, even though I have on countless occasions. And I always have a camera with me. I’ve taken photos all my life. It inspires me to look closely at the world so that my inner life can be enriched and find contentment and meaning in nature. It’s always been that way for me.

Getting out to walk and photograph nature was especially important and meaningful to me during the years I worked full time and was also the primary caregiver for my mother. Until the end, she was the biggest fan of my photography, whether it was flowers, birds, sunsets or scenic landscapes. She loved flowers and my photos of irises, azaleas, and camellias always delighted her. Her face would light up whenever I’d print some of my pictures and bring them downstairs to show her, just as she delighted in, and received such joy from, the bouquets of fresh-cut flowers I bought for her, sometimes a couple of times a week. That beauty made her so happy, just as my photography brings abundant happiness to me every day, for a day does not pass when I’m out taking pictures. As I self-quarantine month after month, photography becomes an ever more vital pastime and refuge.

So my purpose in writing this is to convey the message that your loved one, for whom you have responsibility as a caregiver, will appreciate the simple gesture of regularly bringing him or her a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers. It lights up any room of a house. It tells the one cared for that you love them. And believe me, flowers have their own universal language of hope and beauty. As deeply as my mother descended into the lost regions of dementia, she never lost the capacity to appreciate flowers. She would smile broadly whenever she saw me come in the door and present her with flowers. But even if it was only a faint flicker of a smile, I would have continued to do this because I knew this simplest of gestures brought her unfinished joy.

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