The Memory Loss series commemorates my Mother, Marian Hughes Shuff, who struggled with memory loss before she died in 2011. A bittersweet memory stands out from that difficult time: I gave her a big holiday poinsettia plant, which lasted many months. Although she never forgot who gave her the plant, she wasn’t ever sure she’d thanked me. Each time I spoke with her, Mom would say, “Thank you so very much for the beautiful poinsettia!” This phrase, which I heard hundreds of times, still resonates in my mind.
In the Memory Loss Series, poinsettia leaves and plants are used as metaphor for the disease, which takes many forms. The leaves are torn, fragile, disintegrating. In some of the pieces, these same leaves appear as bird wings, suggesting the passing of time.