Monday, 23 December 2013

It's Hard To Die

This time of year is difficult, even for those without the kinds of difficulties I am facing. As dramatic as it sounds, there is about a 50/50 chance that this will be my last Christmas. It is a near certainty that I will not be back to BC again this time next year; by then my health will likely have declined to the point where the arduous trek from Calgary to Vancouver will simply be too much for me. There is a fairly high probability that my driving will be limited or perhaps even non-existent. At some point I will lose enough strength in my arms and hands that I can no longer control the truck.

Taking ALS out of the picture, this is a tough Christmas. My kids are mostly with their mother and I am with my Mom and Ray. The kids will spend Christmas Day with their mother and I will see them on Boxing Day. I tell myself "it's just a day on the calendar"; it's not. It means more than that. Christmas Day symbolizes much in life, triggering those memories of laughing and excited children gathered early in the morning, squealing with excitement as they dig through stockings, sitting impatiently waiting to unwrap their Christmas treasures.

It is supposed to be a time of year spent with family and I am with mine, mostly. Divorce and the destruction of the divorce process have pretty much shattered my life and my relationship with my kids. They seem to get along better with their mother than they do with me, and quite frankly, given the amount of distress that is already present, I don't want to make things worse by demanding they spend more time with me than they want to. So I concede Christmas Day and take Boxing Day. Even with this it will be a short visit; they want to get "home" early in the afternoon.

Despite all of this I want to make this a time of happiness. It's a hard thing to do. In fact I would say that this time of year, knowing what I know and facing what I face, brings me face to face with what I can only describe as the toughest time of my life. It is nearly impossible for me to keep a brave face on throughout all this, almost impossible for me to keep the anger and pain inside, not letting it explode out on those around me. This is a hard disease, and a hard time to have it, or any other terminal illness for that matter.

It's hard to die, hard to live, with this. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.


  1. I understand your pain Richard having gone through it myself. The best thing to do is try and get through the day as best you can and wait for the following day to come as surely it will and the pain will subside as you see your children and grandchildren, their lives bring joy and the day does not matter. We love you.

  2. I'll be thinking of you, and Frieda and so many others who are having most unusual Christmas' - out of the ordinary and painful. Mine will be challenging in other ways, but I will see people I love and the difficult parts I will breathe through and smile and know it will not always be so... these days too are fleeting and precious. Praying some contentment for you, Richard.

  3. Each of us faces our challenges at this time of year, some more than others at this time of year.

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