If anyone knows the devastation that goes hand-in-hand with Alzheimer’s, it’s Sara Wuillermin.
12 years ago, her 54-year-old mother Rene was diagnosed with the disease. At the time, she was encouraged by doctors to take up crocheting in an effort to keep her mind active. But the hobby fell by the wayside after her fine motor skills and mental processes deteriorated to the point where she was no longer able to speak or care for herself.
Recently, Sara dug up her mum’s old crochet patches and lay them out in order of the date they were created. In doing so, she captured a physical manifestation of Rene’s mind unravelling – with the artwork progressing from neat, bright squares to tangled clumps of wool in a single colour.
“My mum was a very crafty person and loved to crochet,” she wrote on Facebook alongside a snap of her find.
“When she was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s she crocheted all the time.”
“As time progressed and the disease began to take hold, it became more difficult to complete the more intricate designs of the squares she created in the months and weeks before.”
She continued: “Soon enough, she moved on to making tightly constructed circles. Eventually, she just held the empty needles in her hand, roughly stimulating the act of creation.”
Sara also shared the image to Reddit, where it quickly went viral, receiving more than 148,000 upvotes. Even Microsoft founder and renowned Philanthropist commented on the post, thanking her for spreading the word about the toll Alzheimer’s takes on the brain.
Speaking with People, Sara revealed that the hardest thing about her mother's condition was being robbed of precious time with her.
“I was just getting to understand her as a person – I had only know her as my mother,” she explained. “This past decade has been trying to understand who she is and who she was.”
“I will never get over having my mother taken away, but at this stage, I want to do whatever I can to teach people about this disease and hopefully let someone else going through this know they’re not alone."