One Way To Help Build A Culture Of Life, part I

The premise of the culture of life is that each person is made in the image of God and called by Him for a purpose that no one else can fulfill.  It follows from this that each person is and always remains a person.

Many things we say contradict this idea.  We often encounter people who have lost their minds.  Life for these people and those around them can be very difficult.  Often one hears  “oh, so and so — (let’s call him “Bob”) —  has been gone a long time.”  But that’s a lie, isn’t it? Bob is still there.  The Bob that we want to remember; the Bob that we have constructed in our memories (who may never have been there in the first place as memories often have a life of their own) may be gone,” but that’s NOT Bob.   The Anchoress made this point poignantly when she discussed her own situation:

Not so the neurological issues. At the peak of my illness I was unable to figure out how to do the dishes; my organizational skills have never fully recovered, and verbally I sometimes wander into strange lands, referring to cereal as cookies, or to hats as helmets. When that happens, and after I have apologized to my family for sending them into hysterics or on goose chases, I will ask, “Are you going to get rid of me, when my mind is gone?”

In the article from which this quotation is taken, she makes the point with a story:

A neighbor of mine works as a therapist for Alzheimer’s patients, both high-functioning and low. She recently described one sixty-ish daily visitor. “He is a saint. Every day he brings his lunch and eats with his wife. She doesn’t recognize him, so every day she is meeting a new friend. When we told him he needn’t come so often he said, ‘But she is my bride; if I did not see her, I would miss her.’” (emphasis in original).

That “sixty-ish daily visitor” is a hero of love.

What can we do? The answer is simple.  Never say or do anything that suggests that a person whose mind is gone is no longer a person or even the same person.  We may never be called to bear the burdens that the Anchoress will bear, that the “sixty-ish daily visitor” is bearing, and that others close to people who’s minds are gone are bearing.  We can, however, always affirm that people who have lost their minds are still people and always the same people that God created, loves, and wants to be in Heaven with Him.

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