Some days we look into Grace’s eyes and it appears there is no one home. It is as if she slid out of bed during the night and disappeared into the darkness. She looks at us with suspicion as if we are the culprits who spirited herself away.
We circle her quietly, attending to her basic needs. She rejects us with a wave of her hand while closing her eyes to convey the rejection beyond doubt.
We know the person slumped in the chair and suffer with her as Dementia destroys her mind. Our goal is always to encourage her living skills as she is able. Days like today are cruel and anticipate her dying.
Her children visit often and follow the progression. While experiencing negative emotions is painful, the reality of participation in life and death prepares them for the inevitable, for themselves as well as their mother.
I empathize with children who cannot force themselves to enter this reality, who do not share the days of living and of dying. But I want to tell them that they are missing the practice of cultivating compassion toward others. And in time, acceptance of their own diminishing.