Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Blessings and Perspective

Recently I had a discussion with a friend about a mutual aquaintance with a brain injury. There was one thought from that discussion that has remained in my mind for the last few days, related to how much of the "real person" is left after such occurrences. Here was the analogy:

Picture a large, well-furnished and decorated mansion. The place is warm, inviting, spacious, and immaculate. Now picture that same mansion after a group of large, muddy dogs has run through the whole place, tromping over furniture, knocking over glassware, leaving muddy footprints on heirloom oriental rugs, chewing the upholstery of vintage furniture. The owners, who were out of town, are told that dogs have gotten in through an open door and have caused considrable damage. When the owners return, they're shocked and dismayed at all the damage. As they survey room by room, they hearts sink at what's been chewed, soiled, and broken. They have a feeling that the place will never be the same, and has been spoiled.

Now picture that same mansion. This time, instead of a pack of dogs, it's a tornado that cuts right through the center of the place, cutting it in two, collapsing the walls, leaving a huge path of splintered wood and and debris. The owners are informed that their house has been knocked down by a tornado, and see footage on the news of the devastation before they're able to return. They consider that it's all gone, that everything they knew has been destroyed. The owners get to the site, and discover that the outlying rooms, though structurally weakened, are still partially intact. Though all the glassware is broken, and the rainy wind has soiled upholstery and carpets, there is much more intact than they expected. Some of their favorite pieces of furniture, boxes of old correspondence, albums of old photos, and many other pieces are all intact. They come away with a certain amount of relief, that many of the things that made their place special remain, and that they really haven't lost it all.

So it is when someone has suffered a loss of mental capacity. One perspective leads you to think of what has been lost, another of what remains. And of course, in the situation above, the worst feelings actually accompanied the better condition. Such losses are difficult, and can't be erased. But we can take whatever is left and appreciate it, and make the most of it.


Post a Comment

<< Home