Friday, 12 June 2015

Guest Blogger: Darlene Long - Ten Things

This is a guest blogger post today, written by Darlene Long. I've made a couple of edits for which I hope she will forgive me. Darlene cares for her husband, Roger, who is fighting to live with ALS. She contributes some powerful thoughts to our online ALS community on a regular basis. This is just one example of her insight. I can easily identify with each of them.

What is good about life with ALS?

Augie Neito who has lived with ALS for 10 years, started a blog and wrote 10 Good Things about having ALS. It was done with a sense of humor, and definitely from a male point of view, (women don't get mad if you go to hug them and your hands fall down on their butt - one of the less colorful examples).

But the truth is, living with ALS requires a sense of humor, dark and/or light hearted, to keep your sanity. And dignity becomes a lost cause all too quickly.

You can either laugh or cry, and it is far better to laugh.

So, here goes. And, Augie Neito, you started it.
  1. Your muscles melt and wrinkles dissolve. ALS is the best wrinkle cream possible. Your face is as smooth as glass. Of course, you cannot really smile or frown so you look like you have overdone Botox.
  2. You find immense clarity of what matters. Soaking up the sun's rays to get a tan (and melanoma) not even on the scale. Feeling the warmth of the sun on your face on your first spring outing after being house bound during the cold, winter months - priceless.
  3. You discover good, compassionate people who come into your lives to replace the ones who fade away. You are amazed at the resiliency of your family and friends who give of themselves to ease your struggles.
  4. You take nothing for granted, knowing that life often changes in a heartbeat and no one is immune or immortal. Everything that happens that is good is a gift to be savored.
  5. You come to terms with your own mortality. Death is no longer off in some cloudy future, it whispers to you with regularity. But as it does this, you also find it is not as frightening. The fear becomes ordinary in the regularity.
  6. You shift your focus on 'stuff'. Collecting 'stuff', buying 'stuff', and saving 'stuff' all are colored with the very real 'do I need this stuff' question. 'I want' and 'I need' are now centered on relationships and even physical health issues, with 'stuff' often insignificant,
  7. You lose the drive to expect people to behave in certain ways, and find relationships can be so much better without those expectations. You can be happy and grateful for what happens rather than miserable for what doesn't.
  8. You have time to set your life in order. You get to decide what you would like to happen, and to talk it over with your family.
  9. You get to make amends, to forgive, and to ask for forgiveness. You can let people know how much they meant to you and listen to how much you meant to them. You get to really say good-bye. (Have plenty of tissues readily available.)
  10. You can write this last chapter of your life as you wish, possibly even shaping your legacy in your ending. You can choose to enjoy every moment possible. You can choose to live the life you have left as best you can, with courage and strength and humor and grace, all the while searching your soul and exploring your Faith.

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