No words can sum up a life or its worth. No memory can quite substitute for its presence. An impossible feat, to represent a life no longer living, in all of its pain, in all of its glory.

This collection explores concepts involving identity, memory, and the aging brain using my grandpa, Derek George Nash, as the subject of study. While collecting photos, objects, documents, and talking to family, I visually piece together the life he lead through what I have categorized as so: the tangible and the emotional.

The tangible includes all things physical such as photographs, objects, clothing, and documents. The tangible is meant to serve as physical evidence that simulates the space he had occupied during his existence. It is meant to demonstrate the mass of things that made him, him.

The emotional is entirely text based and includes writing such as his eulogy, poetry, and transcribed conversations with family members. These text based entries are used to contextualize the tangible, building his narrative from life to death. The conversations tell stories that illustrate his relationships, his habits, his quirks, his interests, his personality, and his impact.

However, as he ages throughout this book, the emotional reveals how his relationships change, how his quality of life shifts, and how his identity began to strip away from dementia and hearing loss.


Derek’s story is a representation that life is delicate, that the aging brain has no mercy, and that the magnitude of life, in all of its complexity, can be stripped away before our eyes.

Senior Thesis

Instructor: Tom Griffiths

2019