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.