Drawn From Memory
Review by Molly
In the prologue the author reveals Drawn from Memory is a personal story of healing through art to be a true story about her own life and the lives of persons she knows or has known. She mentions too; that while some of those who are gone from her life have not necessarily died. As a rule long term patients/residents in any care institution want most in life to return to the home where they had lived before the care institution.
In 1990, recently divorced, at the end of a busy day spent enjoying the all day housewarming for her parents new home; the writer, single mother of two boys, was suddenly face to face with a reality most of us dread whether it materializes or not. Her mother became incapacitated. It took many doctor visits before the true medical reasons surrounding her mother's seizure and resultant vulnerability became known.
Writer Cockey offers snippets, peeks and clips into the lives of those for whom she has worked with and worried about over the years. She reveals how bringing those who are now lost in a world from which they can never truly escape into a setting where they can intermingle, mingle and step out of themselves for an hour or two now and then does just that. Patients who had not interacted with anyone prior to the writer and her art classes now do cooperate a little with those nearby and with their surroundings. That communication, fleeting though it might be, is important.
Less than twenty years ago Cockey began working with dementia patients as an art teacher for several long term facilities. Since that time she has expanded her program to include others with special needs. These are the dying, the in poor health and the compliant which our society too often forgets when they are most in need.
Author E.J. Cockey sums up her own notions about life and death in three basic questions which she found most of those facing debilitating or life threatening situations always seemed to ponder. Am I going to suffer? Will I be alone? Did my life mean something? Cockey says that it is that pondering of those particular questions, and being willing to answer them, that has made a huge difference to her personally over the past several years.
Writing from the standpoint of one who works in a setting wherein most of our citizenry cannot come to admit might be our own one day, Cockey's Drawn from Memory a personal story of healing through art is not a funny romp or an easy read. Filled with the hurts, the pain and poignancy of lives now ending, or lives continuing forever changed, Drawn from Memory is nonetheless an inspirational manuscript.
Writer Cockey has drawn from her own experiences to set down a script which can serve to motivate readers. Not every situation can be made whole or 'all better.' Every situation can be bettered if we engage in meaningful activity if even for a short time now and then. Cockey faced many disappointments in life, was downcast by her own son's infirmity, her own mother's situation, her life and in particular her own financial problems until at last she began to question the direction of her life. It was with the assistance of one ninety-year-old dementia patient that Cockey came to be sensitive to the notion that there is a higher power and help is obtainable, if you reach out for it. The understanding directs Cockey on a road to regeneration even as it promoted within her an intense zeal. It is through art, that she is able to offer help and the realization that hope is never lost to Alzheimer's and dementia patients.
Drawn from Memory has a place on the therapist's shelf, in the private reader's library and especially for those who are facing what may seem to be an impossible situation from which there is no escape.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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