A while back, I wrote about June. She's our adopted grandmother and my dear friend, and she's deathly ill right now. June has a son who has disowned her, so she asked several years back if I'd be willing to make her medical decisions if she became incapacitated. I agreed. I'm finding the process so much less complicated with June than with my mother, because she's never been anything but a unmitigated blessing in my life; whereas my mom was always at odds with me, even in her final days. June trusts me. My mother didn't. People keep telling me I have a big heart, that she is lucky to have me, but she had a big heart first. She loves my children. She loves me. Unconditionally. I am lucky beyond lucky to have her in my life; blessed would be a better word.
Now, she is frightened. Her mind has suddenly begun creating terrifying scenarios, fires and guns, devils and drug lords, and thieves, so many thieves. She's still lucid and knows and loves us, but she's trembling and confused. It's heartbreaking, because it can't be fought. If a real danger existed, I could move her. If someone was truly calling her names, I could stop them. But I can't stop her mind from laying this fabric of horror over her life. June is well-educated, smart, rarely confused. I didn't anticipate dementia. But that's just life, isn't it? Full of surprises. And a wicked kind of humor.
Would I take away my years of friendship with June, so that I didn't have to see her suffer? Would I turn into the kind of person who can drop someone at a convalescent home and walk away, so that I didn't have to watch this pain? No and no. Loving has its costs. Loving is what makes life worth living. It's the source of all of my joy and most of my pain. Someone with a whole heart might disagree with me, but my mantra has been "It's worth it. Loving is worth having my heart broken." Forgive me if I have to remind myself during the hard part.
It is. It's worth it.