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!


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