It has been said that “ignorance is bliss.” It has also been said that “seeing is believing.” I am not sure whether I believe either of those to be true. It has been my experience that combining those two statements makes a statement that has always proven true in my life. Believing is bliss. I believe that to be happy you must only believe. Believe in yourself and in others. Believe that everything you do makes an impact of someone or something. Believe that no matter how hard it might be to find, something good can come from anywhere and everywhere. This particular belief is one I discovered on my visits to my aging grandmother. Due to difficult circumstances she cannot be officially diagnosed, but she is believed to be suffering from some form of Alzheimers or Progressive Dimensia. I am 20 years old, and my grandmother has not known who I am since shortly after my 15th birthday. Her memory comes and goes, but for the most part she has no idea I am the youngest daughter of her youngest daughter. Some days she believes I am Carla (who was her neighboors daugher in LaPlace, Louisianna in 1970.) Some days I am Teri (my mother) or Sherry, Gail or Annette (my aunts) and some days it’s as if I am not there at all. Being in such a situation is hard for me. At first it really freaked me out, this was a woman I grew up around, and now she seemed to have no memory of who I was. My brother (who was in the same situation as I was) and I decided to do something that many people have said is cruel. We decided to be whoever our grandmother thought we were. If she thought I was Carla, then I pretended to be Carla. We decided that it would be easier for her to think of us as whoever she wanted to. We saw how happy it made her to be with the people she “remembered” and decided to let her live in her dillusion. It makes her smile as she tells us of all the things she had done since she last “saw us”. Sometimes she will mention my brother and I in her storys (she will tell us all about Teri’s kids.) It made us believe that although she may not recognize us, she knew we existed and that she was proud of everything we have accomplished in our short lives. We all believe in things we know are unlikely, even impossible sometimes, but we believe just the same because it makes us happy to do so. We believe in fairy tales, heroes, and saviors because well. . .believing is bliss.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.