When I have been thankful for my health, I always thought about my physical health. After living with my Grace, I have become more and more thankful my mental health. Physical deterioration is inevitable; mental deterioration is not and I pray I will not put my children through this.
Physical pain is tough. Mental pain is worse. There are ways to discover the causes and find solutions to most physical pain. Mental pain is more complicated. We don’t completely understand depression, sadness and loss.
Grace is deteriorating on both planes. We have to decide which is more important. If we address the physical health, she will be put in situations where her mental health will slide even faster. We can make her eat what she doesn’t want to eat, make her use a walker yanking the last shadows of pride from her heart, make her brush her teeth every night by standing next to her and walking her through cleaning each and every tooth, but she will be beaten and miserable.
She has so little left to make her happy. Her dog gives her comfort. She loves sleeping with him and if he steps away, the search begins. Her friends have abandoned her. I understand why, but it is just another loss in her life.
She likes to watch the activity of the house and to know where everyone is. The birds outside the window entertain her. The sounds of my daughters’ friends make her happy and she remembers their visits long after they are gone.
It isn’t easy having her here. Don’t get me wrong. She is ornery, she is exhausting, she is contrary. She is desperate for me to talk to her but she struggles to understand me and think of something to say.
But, I can’t imagine her living anywhere else and surviving.