there might be one statement my teacher made to me that counts the most

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My teacher told me, "You don't get to talk to me again until you are grateful for your life." Even the most generous and altruistic people are but self-seekers in the end because gratitude for life is not only not high on their list, but functionally non-existent. It's as though they believe that since they didn't ask to be born, that's one thing they don't have to examine.

Except, no matter how awful your parents were, or the orphanage, or whoever it was raising you, including no one in particular, if you are not grateful for it you have no way of living the Golden Rule. All you can do is recite it and say you believe in it. You may even fully believe you believe in it, but you're not performing on that until you have looked very, very deeply to find the one in there who IS grateful for life.

That's the only one in you who can't do this to a loved one [anyone]. Most people try to turn it into they're-not-them-anymore and they-don't-even-know-what's-happening-to-them... and most people listen to all those friends and professionals who insist it is the best. "They wouldn't want you to have to bother with them like this." It's all ingratitude... called "the best we can do." With Alzheimer's there really is a case to be made. At some point the person truly has no idea who anyone else is, or who they themselves are, and are in such a constant state of distress from not knowing what's what, repeatedly having to ask if the food in front of them is for them to eat, that locking them up might be the ONLY way to keep the level of pain and harm to a minimum, but this is NOT true of those suffering dementia.

They are the same person they've always been in there. They just can't get their brain to execute the orders they think they're giving to their bodies and mouths such that it makes much sense to anyone. Sometimes they recognize it came out all wrong and sometimes they don't even notice, but they are still the same person in there. They feel the agony of separation from their loved ones. They know, and keep knowing, what is being done to them, even when they cannot articulate it cogently. The ones who have no surviving relatives and friends are pretty mellow about being in a home. The rest are not. It hurts. It is maybe the ultimate injustice.

And we do not find ways to make this work. We find excuses no one can prevent us from making "real" instead.