Sunday, May 23, 2010

Courage, Faith, and ALS.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but simply moving on with dignity despite that fear."

Pat Riley

We have found out that one of my BIL's, one we are extremely close to, has Lou Gehrig's disease. News like this hits you hard in the gut. I thought after my sister's baby son's death that I wouldn't be able to cry for years and years, and then one Saturday you are innocently snuggling with your husband and you get a phone call that makes you cry all day long on and off and into the next few days. Then again when you see him. Then again when you see his wife. And on and on and on.

When I found out, my first thought was, "Well how do we beat it." Like it was cancer or something one might be able to win or overcome (might being the important word there). Unfortunately Lou Gehrig's disease or medically known as, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, is still a phantom disease. They STILL don't know much about it. What causes it, how to prevent or stop the process. You slowly lose control of your muscular function until you no longer have movement at all. Your mind and heart remain 100% healthy through the process. Eventually or most choke to death. They do have medication that may or may not slow down the process but for everyone it is different. In most cases, after diagnosis, the person inflicted with the disease has 2-5 years to live. Some have lived longer, some shorter, again, everyone is different. BUT, one never knows maybe he will be the one that lives a very long time. Maybe he won't? The frustrating thing is... you just don't know, know one can tell you... or predict... or anything.

So he lives, day to day. Because right now he is fine besides the few ticks that won't stop. He has his Bucket List. He has his family. He savors his time with them. And life and work continue... until they can't any longer.

From what I have gathered and from what he has said, my BIL does not worry about death, what he worries about is his family, after he passes on, financially and spiritually. He knows and BELIEVES that he will be okay, and that his time away from his family will be short. He KNOWS that his family down here will be the ones where time goes by slower and they will miss him for much longer than he will miss them.

I was sitting in church that Sunday, the weekend we found out, and all of a sudden I thought, "Testing your faith is having to face a loved ones mortality." I don't know why I thought of this, but it seemed accurate to me. His family and him are strong in their faith. They believe in families being forever. They believe the gospel, they have faith that this is Heavenly Father's Plan for them. They are incredible.

If one doesn't really and truly believe and have faith, from what I know in THIS GOSPEL, then facing death is fear inducing and faith breaking.

Although having faith and being strong can still include crying about it, and being scared about it, and not always being okay with it... because we are human, and we feel, and as much as we believe we don't always have all the answers down here, so we soak up what we have and we gather our COURAGE and our DIGNITY to put one foot in front of the other until we find out the rest.

Hope you all have a good Sunday!



Marinka said...

I am so sorry. Someone close to me had this dreadful disease. I'm thinking of your family.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

thank you, that means a lot

T said...

Shelle - how is it that you always know what to say? I needed a little uplifting today after finding out my MUCH YOUNGER cousin had a heart attack and right now I think is surviving on miracles and prayers.

We'll add your BIL to the list... from what I've learned of ALS it's a tough one to face, sounds like he's going to face it head on and enjoy his family to the fullest!

Always Home and Uncool said...

So sorry to hear this, Shelle, but you wrote a wonderful piece about it.

H.K. said...

I don't understand why bad things happen to good people. You often question why no matter how hard you live the gospel, trials still come, but then again the gospel gives those who are going through trials the strength to endure them. You articulated so well in your last paragraph...your brother in law and his family will be in my prayers.

April said...

Shelle, having just recently watched my beautiful
S-I-L suddenly lose her husband, it has really grounded me to what is important in life. Family is so important. To have love and to give love is so important. My heart goes out to you and your family. Courage my sweet friend. Courage and a smile. Love you!

Malea said...

Oh my heck....Who is it? I'm so sorry!!!!! Awefully sorry. Is there anything I can do to help?

Garden of Egan said...

I am so sorry. What a heartwrenching thing to go through!
Sometimes when you think you can't do "one more thing" you actually have to go through "one more thing"

My heart and prayers are with you and your family.

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

I think you hit on the key when you spoke of faith. Faith can help strengthen our hope, especially when we feel rather hopeless.

It does seem like the hardest trials are watching those we love dearly suffer, when there is nothing we can do to stop it. My prayers will be with you and your sweet family.


Shawn said...

I am lovin' your new blog look----and yes, its been THAT long since I've been reading blogs----just soooo busy! Have missed you, my dear!

Kimberley said...

I just happened to stumble on your blog and after reading this post I am now a follower. My dad had ALS, he was diagnosed when I was in grade 12 and it was the toughest year of my life. So sorry about your BIL, praying for all of you.

Barbaloot said...

How heartbreaking, Shelle! I'm sorry your family is going through these trials.

CaJoh said...

You never want to face those challenges especially when there is nothing to be overcome. Good for you to face this challenge and write about it. It gives hope and encouragement to those struggling with similar challenges themselves.

... said...

Shelle, my heart goes out to all of your family!! Your BIL and his wife have always been so sweet to me and this makes the news all the more dreadful. The gospel is good news... doesn't necessarily make the trials any easier, but gives us hope that they will one day end. Love to you and your family!

Danielle said...

I feel the same as your BIL. I am not so afraid of dying as leaving behind my daughter and family.
I am so sorry and will keep him in my thoughts.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

T-I'm so sorry about your cousin! Thanks for your words.

Kevin-Thanks :)

H.K.- you are so totally right. The gospel does do that for us!

April- "Family is so important. To have love and to give love is so important." So true. Just treasure every memory you have with them.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Malea- Thanks girl. I'll let you know at help! It's my husbands oldest brother.

Tauna- I hear ya at the can't do "one more thing" I hear that. Yet we end up doing it and surviving.

NHC-Faith does give us that hope and thank goodness for that. I don't know how people do it without!

wendy said...

Wow, I don't even know what to say. Sometimes Lifes throws so much at us, we wonder HOW will we survive.
but we do.
cause we have to
And so will you and your BIL and his family---cause our faith is what carries us through
and thank God for that

ModernMom said...

Oh there really are no words....hugs ton you and your family.

Anjeny said...

I'm so sorry about your BIL and may I say that this is the most heartfelt thing every written. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your BIL's family always. Do know that our Heavenly Father and His Son are with you guys in this ordeal and I'm pretty sure our Savior is shedding a few tears with you guys. Love ya, girl.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Growing up, I watched firsthand a good family friend become stricken with ALS. Through it all, he remained incredibly upbeat and amazing, never losing his humor or his humanity. He continued to play poker with his friends and be present in his children's lives long after the doctors said he would.

I'm so sorry to hear this news. I'm devastated for you and your family.

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