I hate to say it, but if you are a reader of Arkansas Mama for its [undeniably] witty blog posts, you might want to skip this one. Because this one isn’t witty. Or fun. Or remotely happy. And it won’t have any hilarious and amazing pictures.

No, this one sucks. I hate this one. I hate that I am even writing it into existence. And I had so many good great posts waiting to be brought to life!

I know I have been MIA since late last year. My life got crazy starting in November. We thought my dad had metastatic lung cancer. It was almost a definite thing. He had a PET scan and it showed his lymph nodes and lungs full of activity. So that was a month of hell. Waiting. Worrying. Wondering. It blew my anxiety disorder wide open and forced me to face things I had avoided for basically my whole life. But then in January, we found out that it wasn’t cancer, it was an infection! I was elated. Grateful. Happy. And having faced my anxiety in its truest form, I knew I needed help for it. So I got it. That changed my life.

And then I went back to work. And man, I was happy then. Staying at home wasn’t for me; I was going crazy. And I had some good posts on the shit show that was me staying at home, too. But I got busy. I meant to post, but I didn’t have time.

And then came June. June has always been a special month to me. It is my birthday month, my husband’s birthday month, and growing up, it marked the very beginning of summer. In June, your summer seemed endless. It was a joyful beginning.

And this summer was especially wonderful because after decades of working, my mom finally retired. Full time Gigi! We had moved closer to home and planned vacations. The time we had been waiting for had arrived. I was so excited.

But not this June. This June, my world shattered. This June, my mom was diagnosed with ALS.

ALS. Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Incurable. Terminal. Horrific. Soul-crushing. Devastating.

I am crushed by this. My family is crushed by this. My mom, God my mom, is crushed by this. There is nothing she loves more than her grandkids. And now she has to try to function when she knows she has an incurable disease that will rob her of time, milestones, experiences, and memories with them. It makes me sick to my stomach. It frightens me. It breaks me- I can feel my heartbreaking. Truly.

The day she was diagnosed time froze. I could hear my dad telling me the news but I couldn’t react to it. It was surreal. Every minute of the next week crawled by. How could the days be so long? I couldn’t do anything. Every small task felt impossible. One morning, I locked myself out of my car. I couldn’t think straight.

I fucking hate crying but I was crying all the time. I even cried to strangers- many of them. In my worst nightmare, I would never have dreamed of having the conversations I have had the past week with someone I love. Advance directives. Ventilators. Feeding tubes. Hospice. I can say that I never realized how wonderful my life was, until my wonderful life was gone.

But here we are. One of my worst fears has come true. Now what? Well, I am living one day at a time. I am beyond fortunate and grateful that I moved closer to my parents and that I can work from home. I get to be with my mom every day. I get to hang out with her, comfort her, and bring her joy. Same for my dad. This is an amazing blessing. I can’t describe how much joy it brings me to see her smile and hear her laugh.

But that is all I am doing right now. This week I am not crying as much. I am functioning. I am remembering to take the keys out of my car. I am trying to carry on life as normally as I possibly can. Even though normal is gone.

June no longer represents the endless and joyful beginning. Now it represents the wretched finite. The heart wrenching beginning to an end.

Categories: ALS


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