“We found out that our dad was diagnosed with ALS the day after his only granddaughter’s first birthday party in Richmond…
This is noteworthy because he and our mom kept this burdensome secret from the world for over a month until we were together for the first time since they found out. And then for an additional two days while we were all together to not put a “damper” on the festivities.
My sister and I talked nearly daily for probably a month about how we were feeling to help each other process the news. We remember thinking about the birthday party weekend and all that transpired now with hindsight knowing that our parents were in pain and pretending not to be. That they were silently preparing to share this devastating news with us. One particular moment that we would have never thought twice about happened when our Dad quietly got up from his chair, walked over and handed a chair to our mom who was sitting on the grass. All while the rest of our family was carrying on blissfully unaware and unaffected. Our dad did not bring attention to himself nor did he ask for thanks. That is the essence of our dad. He shows how he cares with actions, not words. And he never asks for anything in return.
This is the second Father’s Day we are spending with our Dad who is now living with ALS. We feel like we have been through the ringer over the past year with information overload, waves of emotions, and most notably new feelings of togetherness as a family unit in this marathon of a fight. But we are incredibly grateful to be able to spend another Father’s Day with him. And a lot of that gratitude stems from watching our Dad fight this disease with grace and positivity.
As we reflect on Father’s Day this a year, we want to recognize him for his continued strength in battling this disease. For his positivity and optimism. For focusing on the good. For letting us in to help and learn and grow with him for the sole purpose of supporting him. For listening to our concerns and for the new developments we read about. For answering our questions about what he needs and what he is feeling. For letting us be part of his journey and not shielding us from his experience. For living his life to the fullest showing us that we should be doing the same.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads living with ALS or caring for someone with ALS.
We celebrate you today and every day.”