Monday, 23 September 2013


I did something different this morning, something rare and unusual and wonderful, something decadent and debauched. I lay in bed, doing nothing, simply lazing about, listening to the whish and whine of cars going by my window, watching the sunlight shift its way across the blind that half-covers my window, sliding in and out of restful doze, wasting away my morning. This is a rare event for me, something almost impossible given my nature, a chocolate sundae with whipped cream kind of thing.

It was only through another person that I found the courage to do something so indolent, laying about, torpid and slothful. A friend of mine came over last night. She came by for dinner with my brothers, Peter and Jim, and me. She spent the better part of the evening listening to my brothers tell stories of our checkered past, embroidered and enhanced over the span of years. She tolerated the pointed questions thrown at her from my sibling inquisitors, curious to know more about who this person was and why I would invite her into our dinner.

After my brothers left, she and I spent some time talking. We shared our stories, compared our hurts and injuries from failed marriages and lost loves, set in juxtapose our challenges with changing bodies and changing lives. We looked at pictures, hers and mine, from our past, from who we used to be. I made some comment about "when I was normal". Her hand fair flew up, a barricade to further words, a complete block to me. She said "You ARE normal. You are a normal person. You just happen to have some extraordinary challenges in your life, but you are normal."

I was struck by that view, for it has been some time since I considered myself normal, a regular person. I have been living in the shadow of ALS for long enough now, struggling with my losses and changes, fighting obstructions to my mobility and limits to my lift. I have begun to forget normal. Yet she forcefully and fully reminded me that normal is simply where I am now. I am normal.

Then an amazing thing happened. She looked at my feet, those poor swollen red lumps at the end my my dying legs. She undid my shoes and gently rolled my socks down and off. She took some skin cream that I had on the table and she rubbed my feet, working the cream into the cracks of stretched and hardened skin, broken from the swelling. She pushed the circulation, taking the purple to white, making the rough surface smooth with the glisten of moisturizer and vitamin E.

This was a most amazing act of kindness to me, an act that left me so completely vulnerable, effused with a gentle gratitude that is impossible to describe. I went to sleep feeling more cared for than in the longest time. I slept, so well that morning came and drove onward to lunch while I, in restful repose, came and went from wakefulness. In light and gentle slumber, the sun shining through my window, as I lay in bed, I thought about last night. I have not been so calm, so collected, in a long time. All from a simple act of kindness.


  1. Kindnesses make me cry. She didn't HAVE to do this act of kindness but she allowed her heart to move and acted on it. Reminds me of Mary's act of love for Jesus as well as Jesus act of love and service to his disciples washing their feet. Kindness... Enjoy your day... Linda

  2. Linda, I had the same thought as she was doing this, the thought of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.