Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I'm Still Here

Someone told me yesterday that my blog entries had been a bit of a downer lately.I am certain the concern was that my spirits were low and that my sadness was showing more and more. The truth is that as this disease steals my body it has been stealing my spirit too. Yesterday I wondered about "running out of gas". That is probably the best metaphor I have; my tank is running lower and lower.

I think about suicide a lot these days. No, not for today, but for some future day. I think about the futility of going through all of this, only to die at the end; the pointlessness of it all. My fellow Christians will tell me to turn to God, to put my faith in His plan for me. Right now I am not really impressed with His planning. Over the years I have continually struggled with my faith. As a pastor at church once said to me, "some people come to God easily, others have to work at it". What happens when you are too tired to work at it?

I know this is terribly self-centered of me; it is self-pity, selfish in the extreme. My son tells me I should look at what I have, not what I don't have. I wonder how he would view life if he had ALS, when every day something you had yesterday is taken from you? I wonder if anyone out there can imagine the hopelessness of this disease; no known cause, no known cure and an almost certain timeline. Today I stumbled in the washroom. I didn't fall, just got wobbly. It was enough to remind me that soon, very soon, I won't be able to stand at all.

I know I should look around me and take joy in what I have, in my family and friends, in my life. It's not that easy. Each day I find myself struggling to remind myself that life is worth living. There is no doubt in my mind that I am struggling with depression; it's my least attractive quality these days. This is a hard disease. I will be glad when it is done with me.

Yet, I suppose, there are things in my life to enjoy. There are things I like to do, places I would like to see, people I would like to be with. It is time for me to make a change, to do something that gives me a different focus.

Wanderlust. I have always loved to go from place to place, to see new things, to explore and imagine what might be next on the road. Even small bits of travel have continually entertained me. It is probably time for me to leave Calgary and hit the road. I need the distraction.

I want to see my grandchildren, to experience their simple laughter, their joy in discovery. I may never get to take them on their first fishing trip, but I can certainly buy them their first fishing rod. I may never get to see them head off to school, but I can certainly buy them crayons and books and pencils and pens. I may not see their future but I can see their today.

Perhaps my bucket list still has some things in it. I'm not ready to go just yet.


  1. Don't forget Rick you csn stay here when you come back home. If you need help there are nurses here to help. They came to me when I wasjust out of the hospital. We want to help when you are ready.
    I agree with you about taking the time to see the babies. They are beautiful.
    We love you
    Mom and Ray

  2. You should listen to your son; focus on what you have that ALS can never take away from you - family and friends in whose memories you will be fondly remembered.

  3. Bear in mind that a significant contributing factor to mood depression may simply be the mid-winter slump a lot of people experience in January and February.

  4. The mid-winter slump is certainly a part of my depression. The general struggle with ALS and daily living is also part of it. Ricky is not incorrect; I just struggle with the whole "look at the bright side" response. That too is part of the depression.

  5. We would always love to see you on the island Dad. I know that it's not realistic, but I'm not able to travel very much due to finances and doing daycare, and we really would like to see you soon.