As of last Thursday, it has been a year since my husband was officially diagnosed with ALS.
As one does, we look back over the journey to see the differences from then to now. What I really want to do is to write this sparkling and profound story with few defeats and many triumphs but I have nothing. In addition to that, I get so caught up into trying to be inspiring that my voice gets lost in the words. What I end up writing feels forced. It feels disingenuous, which is not my goal. Ultimately, it’s not me. I write with my heart on my sleeve, with all my cards laid out for all to see. It’s the only way to be. Trying to keep out the failures and the sadness is a detriment to myself, and no one else.
The reality has put a lot of things into focus, that for so long had been fuzzy. I have suffered most with deciding if my husband was truly “the one.” I always came up with so many excuses to say we weren’t: I was too young; I wasn’t ready. All of this bullshit. I didn’t trust my gut, because it has been wrong before. So instead of enjoying what I have in front of me, I him-and-hawed trying to feel out if it was the right decision. There is no “right” answer. Ever. We just choose a path and learn. Attempting to go back and try another is pointless. There is only forward.
It’s funny, to me, saying all of that because it is the same bullshit that has been told to us over and over again. We just never let it sink because we refuse to listen. We refuse to understand. “There’s always a chance.” Maybe, but maybe not. It’s better to treat life as a “one and done” deal. Thinking that we can get back to reach what we lost is a farce we repeatedly tell ourselves to lull our mind into a false sense of security. “There’s always another chance.” Nope. We only have now.
The beauty of that belief has done some amazing things for our lives. We bought a new house. We moved. We have journeyed across the country, twice. We have seen and done things neither of us thought we could or would do. Yeah, Covid and his disability has made it more difficult, but all of those minor setbacks have paled in comparison to what we’ve experienced.
The only thing that can be truly measured, is the loss of my husband’s independence. He has to rely on me or my brother-husband to eat, to go to the bathroom, to stand without falling. His arms and hands are very nearly worthless from what he used to do. Using a cellphone is near impossible. Thank the geniuses at apple for the voice control features. Without it he wouldn’t even be able to peruse Facebook, text, or make phone calls. Technology is a bane on society, but also a fantastic tool to give one the illusion of normalcy.
I do wish there was something I could add, but there is nothing that I can say that would be any different than from the hundreds of voices before my own.
I will just reiterate that time is precious. Live in the now and don’t hesitate, for even a second. This moment is the only one you truly have. Make it worthwhile. A life of experiences is worth more than any amount of money saved.