Monday, April 4, 2011

Maudlin Thoughts

It was 82 degrees in the shade Saturday. Sunday it snowed. Welcome to spring on the high plains. Molly spend much of Sunday cowering at my feet as the thunder accompanying the snow bothered her sensitive constitution. {*grin*}

While it was snowing, L went to visit her friend and former business partner who lives on a farm/ranch about 20 miles from here. L's friend was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease) a while ago. When L is down from the mountains she goes to visit (when her friend is able) and bring food to put in the freezer. Her friend has faced the invariably fatal disease with amazing heart and grace. It is hard to imagine just how hard it must be for her.

L's friend is now at the point where she has a feeding tube and is on a respirator and depends on an eye-tracking and blink computer to do much.  Yet she still keeps on. She wants so much to see her kids grow up (she has a boy aged ~15 and twin girls aged ~13), but knows that it is a wish that will not be fulfilled. For me it is even harder to see how it has impacted her husband as he tries to farm and run the ranch and spend as much time as possible with her and help the kids deal with it. He was always a happy go lucky guy, but now the smile and spirit slips when he thinks no one is looking. I sometimes see him at the grocery store and it looks like the weight of the world is on his shoulders. I am not sure that I could handle it anywhere near as well as he has.

Rather than think sad thoughts about the impending end, I prefer to remember the miracle that is their marriage. She was an international business lawyer who happened to be in the area on a shotgun hunting trip. The trip was on what was to become her future husband's land. They met, courted and fell in love in their late 30s/early 40s. She changed her practice to move out here and they had kids. The fairy tale they neither one thought they would have became their reality.

I remember one evening when we were out at their place for a dinner party. To say that L's friend was often a bit disorganized about social occasions would be an understatement. Thus I can remember treading my way in the dark to the grill to cook, all the while being rubbed and attacked by the herd of pygmy goats running wild in the yard, while the others were getting everything else in the house ready hours after the planned time. There is nothing quite like standing in the dark, lit only by the grill, and feeling the fur and tongues of little goats on your legs and wondering if they were really goats or were they skunks? Yet the food was superb, the conversation better and the evening memorable. What more could one ask for?


  1. Is there anything the community can do? Could the local grocery store deliver the groceries to him? Anyone willing to go to the house and cook some meals for the family to have? Anything that would give him and his kids more time to spend with his wife would be awesome.

  2. All of that and more is already happening. This is a small rural community, so people do all that for each other without a second thought.

  3. At least you have some good memories of the way it used to be. I'm sure that is what she would want.

  4. That's such a bittersweet story. ALS is a terrible disease. One of my co-workers lost his brother this year because of it. He had a five year old son. Hold on to those sweet memories. :)


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