Friday, October 7, 2011

That look

I have made a good friend at work. She is starting the journey I am on. She described a look that I have seen from Grace. I never knew how to describe it, but talking to her, seeing the tears that I had felt... I knew. I told her, "that look is full of hate." I need to tell her how she helped me understand my own experience.

The look of venom ... it hurt at first, but I understand it now. She is locked inside a world that lies to her, that tricks her, that promises visitors that never come. She wakes up to a place she can't remember. Yes, the look is hate. But it's not at me. She hates that she can't release her fear and despair. She can't process what she sees. She looks at me briefly, then closes her eyes as they roll away from me.

If I stop and give her a kiss on her forehead, the hate melts and she looks at me. She makes eye contact and she smiles. She says "thank you, sweetie" or "I love you, sweetie."

Life with Grace can be a roller coaster, but I don't regret having her at my house. I never have. She makes me a better person. She makes me strong. She is teaching me to rise above the details and see the big picture. She strengthens my faith.

I brought her to my house to help her and fulfill a promise to my father. I never knew how much she'd help me.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I thought this was absolutely adorable. Best friends napping together.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Plan B

My mother always knew that she would eventually need to be in a place that would take care of her. She accumulated videos in great number. She told me it was so that her room would be where the nurses would gather. Never, did she imagine that her brain would fail her so completely.

Grace also told me at what facility she wanted to be. We went there one day while she still lived independently. We walked in the door to a sea of empty faces in wheelchairs. The tour of the facility was impressive. They did as much as possible to make the place bright and cheery. I watched her as the color left her face. She panicked. "Get me out of here." I knew she would never be back. She was at the very beginning of her disease. Maybe on some level she knew she would be one of the vacant faces. I never asked.

Neither of my parents ever imagined in their wildest dreams that Grace would end up living with me. None of their "preparations" took this into account. The irony is that I always knew.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Knock knock

When I was a teenager, I had a book by Kahlil Gibran. One passage struck me at that age and has stayed with me. On some level, I knew that its meaning would evolve and change as I went through life. I would go back to it thinking that I understood a new facet, but now with Grace, it reveals itself to me even more.

"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams."

As a teenager, I found the passage isolating. It separated me from my parents. At the same time it both comforted and scared me. It explained places where we didn't connect and the understanding gave me peace and patience.

As a young mother, my young children were so integrated into my life and identity, I couldn't imagine any separation. Now as they are growing into beautiful young woman. This again gives me comfort and understanding. I know that the parts of their lives to which I can belong are gifts. I don't belong there. I watch as they connect with each other and can enjoy being a visitor into their world. I am not sad. I am proud; very proud. I understand that we are at this point because I did my job.

With Grace, I cannot reach out to her completely. She is in a place I cannot go. I can try to sit with her and be a comfort her, but I'm only able to knock on the window. If I'm lucky, she'll turn and look, but I can't come in. I am on the outside and will never be invited in.