Monday, 29 July 2013

Disappearing Relationships

It is a slow morning this morning. I sit in my chair, stare out my window, watch the flat grey under-surface of a clouded sky, slit here and there into strips of white and even blue now and again. It is that kind of easy start to a day that I need now and again. I have little planned for the day, only a lunch date with a friend.

It is an interesting phenomenon, this friend thing. This particular person is someone I used to work with. There are a couple of past-work people who have made it a point to keep in touch with me. It is one of the most interesting things for me, that these two people, two people with whom I had great struggles in my work like, turn out to be two of the most reliable, strong and helpful people as I work through the struggles of my daily life.

I am not alone in this experience. Just a few days ago another one of my PALS (Persons with ALS) commented on how surprising it was to her that people she had expected to be with her through her illness had completely failed her yet people whom she barely knew, or expected little of, had reached out and become solid and powerful helpers and supporters. I see this theme a lot in my online ASL groups.

Another of the PALS I know commented the other day on her marriage. It was failing when she got her diagnosis and failed completely thereafter. This is not an uncommon story. Relationships that are thin and weak disappear completely under the load of this awful disease. Troubled marriages crumble. Even seemingly strong marriages buckle under the weight of an ALS diagnosis. It takes tremendous courage and commitment to stay when the work and outcomes if this illness are so all encumbering.

Of course you expect family to stick with you. Yet even in this there are tremendous challenges. Siblings and children have their own lives to live. Young children depend on you; it cannot be the other way around. Teenagers and young adults are "doing their own thing". In most cases parents are either gone or aging, unable to help. Where they are, they do, tremendously. I know this to be true. Still, particularly with aging parents as mine, you cannot ask them to do what needs to be done; they simply cannot do it.

I envy those who have loving partners in their lives who give all to make the last days of a Person with ALS the kinds of days worth living. That is a very special person, a rare treasure. For the rest of us, in the end what you learn is that, in most cases, if it is to be done it is up to you to do it.

1 comment:

  1. My dear I will be there to help as much as I can and if you can make some changes so can I. I have been thinking about it all the time and hoping I will be there for you when you need it most. Maybe I am a dreamer but that is what I dream.
    love you with all my heart