Monday, 5 September 2016

Watching Me Go Through This

A couple of days ago I was talking with my friend Chris Smith. We were talking about being parents, about what it does to your relationships with your kids when you go through a divorce. He said that it takes some time for the situations, and there are many, to finally work themselves out. My response was that time was something I didn't have, that the recovery of my relationships with my kids had to happen in a compressed format.

He went on to say that it wasn't easy for them to see me going through this, and it certainly wasn't easy for him or any of my other friends. I thought about that, both when he said it and for much of that evening. I really don't know what it is like to see this from the other side, to watch it instead of to have it. My Mom tells me its awful, and I can especially understand that. As a parent, you never want your child to go through anything difficult, and this is one of the most difficult things I have ever dealt with.

As for my kids, I have trouble putting myself in their shoes. My son, Ricky, lived with me for the first year of ALS. He saw the rapid progression, the loss of my legs, the scary transition from walking to using a walker to using a wheelchair. He saw me fall, more than once, while trying to stand. He traveled with me, spent a lot of time with me. Now that I think of it, at 22 years of age to be with your father as he slowly disintegrates and to be able to do nothing about it, that would be very difficult. No wonder he had such a tough time here that year. I miss him; I wish he was still nearby.

My daughter Kate is here in Calgary these days. She sees me often. She hears regularly about my losses, the changes in my life. She sees me when I can't put things away or pick things up. She sees me when I have trouble transferring from chair to couch and back. She hasn't seen progression as much, not the way Ricky did, She sees and hears enough though, and it must be hard on her. I know it is. She says so at times.

Mary and Meaghan both live with their own families out on the coast. I know that Mary reads my blog pretty much every day. Given the honesty with which I discuss this disease, she has to know and feel a lot. I know she does. Meaghan will read my blog periodically, at least I think she does. I know she will refer to it at times. I know she read some of the nasty stuff I was writing while I was going through my divorce and a rapid collapse from ALS, both at the same time. It's too bad, but it is what it is. Neither of them, however, has had a true witness experience of what ALS has done to me.

That is not to say that Mary and Meaghan are not sympathetic, that the do not care. I believe they care deeply. I just don't know what they think of all of this, how they feel about all of this. I have a pretty good idea what Kate thinks; I talk to her every week. Ricky has had a good look at what this disease did to my emotions and spirit. I know they all love me and care about me. But in truth, I really don't know, truly, how they feel, all of them. I just don't know.

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