This Spring, my partner and I planted wildflower seeds in our empty flower beds. We thought it would give us something to look forward to as we welcomed his mother, Suzanne into our home. Suzanne was experiencing the early signs of Alzheimer’s and needed some help navigating some difficult life changes.

As we journeyed through both the pandemic and getting Suzanne the healthcare she needed, we watched seedlings pierce through the soil. We watered. We weeded. We drank our morning coffee watching the beds come to life. This small patch offered solace when things were heavy. The flowerbeds were a hive of wildlife activity and a grounding force in our Alzheimer journey.

As the flowerbeds were brimming with life, I started to lament the day they would be gone. These flowers belonged to such a specific time, I felt compelled to preserve them. Suzanne would often say, “Remind me to photograph these. I want to remember them when they're gone.” So photograph them I did. I started by scanning the flowers that were in the yard. I wanted to make a beautiful archive. The black background came to serve as a reminder that we are all part of a cosmic space where there is beauty in both life and death, despite how painful that is to recognize. I continued preserving our patch by documenting at different times and weather conditions, looking at all the enchanting never-ending combinations of form that were right there outside my back door.

Suzanne and I have learned we share a similar taste in music. On a long road trip this summer, I introduced her to Lucinda Williams. She learned all the words. One song in particular seemed to describe Suzanne’s experience. The song Everything Has Changed  talked about roads looking different and towns being rearranged. The line, “All the words that used to work have melted in the sun,” became an extension of what we were navigating.

The flowers became something which we anticipated without expectation of things as they used to be. They helped her find her new normal by giving her something to look forward to without the pressure of being attached to a specific time. These photographs are a portrait of the place where we processed our grief, but also where we recognized moments of joy; a contemplation on the beauty of the cycle of life, of the beauty of imperfection, and the beauty of letting go and embracing change.

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