Give This Holiday Season

November 28, 2023

With this story comes gratitude unlimited. ALS United Rocky Mountain is ready to serve, ready to soften the blows, and smooth the rocky road. I am eternally thankful for all of the gifts they’ve bestowed upon us, most of which is the pure dedication to our well-being.

When you are diagnosed with a fatal disease for which there is no cure, you can’t fathom the prospect that your life condition might offer you opportunities and good fortune you did not anticipate. You sit in a spot of despair and hopelessness wondering what the future holds for you.  You feel the random victim and ask the proverbial questions, “Why me?” “What’s next?” “How will I live?” and “Who will help me?”

If good fortune leads you to comprehensive medical care, including palliative attention, you feel safe and protected. If you have a partner or caregiver who will help dress you, fetch your dropped items, ferry you to appointments, and put you in bed, your anxiety eases. If you can still reap joy from anything you can still do, if you can show one smile per day, if you can get out to smell the fresh air….you chalk up another round on the happiness scale. Most importantly, if you have family and friends who call, visit, and bring you food, you have life-sustaining gifts.

ALS Hero Liz Barclay You sense and feel the decline, albeit unpredictable. At every appointment, you are asked the question, “Do you ever feel down or depressed?”  Well, heck yeah!  Who doesn’t?  But, you have a solid reason why this is so. Some days are easier than others. Sadness and despair can tear you apart. You try to harness the happiness and let it infuse your head and heart. It gets harder and harder to get out, to see friends, to do all the things you used to do. You used to walk the dog, water the garden, host a dinner part, volunteer at the food bank, dance at a wedding, drive a car, and so on. Maybe you can’t travel or breathe alone, or swallow. It all just gets tougher.

Many days, you might just rein in all the negative and end up having a darn good day. You fix a meal, you write a letter, you swim in the pool, you read a good book, you binge a good PBS series. Somehow, you just pick yourself up and transcend the fear and sadness. You almost forget that life is not yours to be lived. The goodness can appear from nowhere or it can come JUST when you need it. Angels appear within your reach! Megan, Mary, Suzanne, Tami!  They are there for you. They listen, console, address, and solve your issues. Do you need tableware?  Can we deliver a power chair?  Can we steer you toward end-of-life resources?  Can you pick up a ramp?  Remember you have a quality of life grant to use for essentials?  Like a roll of Life-Savers, they make your life manageable and positive. They smile, answer questions, and  provide support, time and time again. These women remember  who you are and are glad to hear from you.

Liz Barclay