I've always had a really bad memory. So when my mother got Alzheimer's disease, I knew that I had to record what was happening to her and to our family. I wanted to be able to look back over my notes and remember all the moments of craziness, beauty, and tragedy- and not lose any of them.
Mom started showing symptoms of Alzheimer's in 1996, when she was only 52. Our family ran through all the possible explanations-job loss, depression, menopause-until finally we realized it must be something neurological. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1998. For the next six years my father cared for her, eventually with the help of hired caregivers. Mom's sisters, Debbie and Sukey, and my sister Hannah and I helped as much as we could.
I lived in Vancouver and my parents lived in Fredericton, New Brunswick. I visited two or three times a year, and took notes and drew pictures the whole time I was there.
Eventually those notes and sketches became Tangles.