Either Way It’s Perfect

Either Way It’s Perfect: The Sayings of Noni Reisner During Her Dementia and Watercolors of Her by Her Husband, Lenny Silverberg.

In 2006 my wife, Noni, who had been fighting early-stage dementia, suffered a significant decline in her abilities.  For the next six years, I was her primary caregiver.  I stopped painting to care for her, but during that time I drew her.  Three years after she died in 2012, I began a series of watercolors based on drawings and photographs from that time.  I continued painting this series for over three years, and created more than 300 watercolors and drawings.

While Noni was suffering from dementia, she would write and say short statements: odd, funny, sad, sometimes silly, sometimes profound, and often quite moving. In the early stages, she would write them and later I wrote them down when she spoke them.  I collected over a hundred of these.

This collaboration chronicles the loss that I felt and witnessed over the years as Noni slipped away from me, as well as Noni’s loss of many of her abilities. And yet, she maintained her wit, her sense of humor and her personality, even as so much disappeared.

So many of us are experiencing a similar situation of caring for a loved one who is suffering from this debilitating illness, which slowly takes them from us.  I hope that this book which contains beauty, humor and love,  that even in the face of tragedy, it can bring some solace. It is a kind of visual memoir of a sad, but loving journey, and I offer it to help in the grieving process.

-Lenny Silverberg