Corey is home for his monthly visit and earlier this week I asked him if he was happy. He thought about it for a second and said with a smile, “Yeah, I am happy.” And then he said, “You seem happy, too.”
After I was diagnosed with ALS I felt like I fell into a deep, dark hole. I was beside myself and didn’t know what to do so I prayed to God. People all around me said they were praying for a miracle but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to ask for a miracle because it seemed way out of my league. I pray daily and know that many of my prayers have been answered throughout my life but praying for a miracle seemed too extravagant for me. Instead I bargained with God to either let me die of a sudden heart attack like my brother Mick or to help me accept this disease and my new life.
At first I was praying pretty heavily for the heart attack because it was easier than dealing with having ALS. I was pretty sure I wasn’t strong enough to endure so much sorrow and I didn’t want an illness that would drag on for years, sadly affecting my family and friends. As the days and weeks went by the only things that felt good were taking naps and hiking in the woods. At that point I hated my life and thought happiness was gone forever but I was so wrong. Little by little I started to gain some of my inner strength back. My family and friends embraced me with unbelievable love. Mark and my kids kept reminding me that my life was not over and just because I had ALS there wasn’t a good reason to quit living.
I started to receive words of encouragement and motivational quotes from various people. Then one day it dawned on me that I used to be the queen of motivational words and quotes with my kids and my co-workers. For my kids I used to write motivational quotes on napkins and put them in their lunches or sometimes I would write it on the outside of their brown paper lunch bags. My job at Transnation Title was in marketing and sales so I read a lot of books and attended seminars on the subject of motivating myself and others. I know my family thought I was a little overboard sometimes and I suspect my co-workers may have thought that also, but I really believed in it. Also, I have learned a lot from friends of mine who I admire for their grace in dealing with a terminal illness or the death of a loved one.
I was pitiful and really upset with myself because those motivational words always helped me in the past. I desperately needed to find some help, so once again I prayed. I prayed for acceptance of my disease because I knew I wasn’t going to get that heart attack because of all my years of running with Cindy and Paul. I decided to talk with some friends that I admire who are currently living with a terminal illness and friends that have dealt with the deaths of their loved ones gracefully. I listened and I learned from them. I also talked with people that were dealing with other challenges and learned from them. I started to see more and more sunshine in my day and it felt great. Today my life isn’t perfect but by the grace of God I am happy most of the time.
Maybe I did get that miracle after all.