Six years ago, the normal, brainy girl named Grace died. At least, that's when her body was found. It's likely she'd been dead a couple years longer than that. She was survived by bubbly friends and a doting family, who all were wracked by the loss.
Why is this eulogy so late, though, if she was so beloved? Because no one noticed she was dead, really dead, until today. Not even Grace.
When she noticed her brain wasn't quite right, she knew things would never be the same. That's how having a bad brain worked. She'd always be taking medicine, she'd always be watching every little move she made. It was a constant production, keeping all the parts together. Grace was strong and brave and quick to jump onto that.
However, somehow it slipped right by her how permanent everything was.
She knew to stay healthy she'd always have to be working on herself. She knew she'd constantly be changing. She knew she'd be a hard person to love.
But she didn't realize that her brain would stay broken, really broken, no matter how much of a good girl she was.
Six years ago, the girl named Grace was reserved but passionate. Extroverted but in love with her books. A straight A student. A great friend. The perfect daughter. She was messy, but she was focused. And maybe she didn't sleep a lot, but boy did she have so many dreams.
The broken brain took away invigorating, sleepless nights.
The broken brain chased off all her friends.
The broken brain tanked her grades.
The broken brain made her feel safer alone.
The broken brain made her organize everything, because it was the only thing she could control.
But what made it easier was seeing all her progress, watching the graph of her illness rise, even if it was still a jagged line. Grace felt that even if she was broken and moody and difficult that she was getting better.
But today, everything changed.
Looking at all her meds and all her schedules and all her coping strategies and all her perfect practices in place, and still feeling hollow inside, she realized it wasn't just that other people couldn't fix her and make her whole again.
She couldn't either.
No matter how hard she worked, or how much she believed, or how many times she corrected for every little warning sign, she would always be sick. Grace could do everything in her power to make things easier, do everything right, but nothing was going to fix her brain. It's almost like Bipolar Disorder is a chronic illness or something.
After all this hopeful time, she had to accept it wasn't just that past Grace was gone, it was that the ease and sanity that came with her was dead, too.
Being the perfect good girl Grace just never will be enough. Not to make her healthy again. If she spends what's left of her life trying to find that, she'll always be disappointed.
While old Grace, sane Grace, is survived by a neater, hardened Grace, she will be missed. The late night homework and laughing sleepovers and baked goods for classmates and indomitable confidence in the things she loves most are gone.
All we have left is to stand tall and move forward.
It's all we've ever had.