When I was a kid and the holidays came around, I got so excited. It was not just because Christmas brought gifts or Easter brought candy. It was the time when family gathered. There were seven kids in our family. Four were all but grown adults by the time my younger sister was born. Three of us grew up in a home without the other four. When we moved out to the country from the city, we didn’t see them a great deal. So, when we all gathered it was a great time.
For a few years, it was so fun because my brothers and brother-in-laws would be outside playing touch football. The honor system ruled the game, and of course, the older ones got their way. It was so fun for me to be with them all. We were all winded and sweaty before my mom would send dad to announce the meal was ready. We would stand in line to fill our plates and pick apart each others football skills all while studying how much food we could pile on the old paper plates before they’d collapse from overload. It took careful thought and planning.
I would stand by the window or door and keep watch down the road awaiting the caravan of family cars so the fun could begin. I loved those times, I think of them so often. As high as my emotions ran anticipating the arrival of family, they ran just as low as when they packed up their cars and headed home.
I would go through a bout of depression when they left. It lasted as long as it took for Gilligan’s Island or Hee Haw to air and then all was fine. I just never liked seeing them leave.
Goodbye has never been an easy thing for me. I think most people feel this way. Arrivederci, sayonara, aloha, adios and dozens of other ways one can say goodbye, but the words are never easily passed through the lips. It is not about the word, rather it’s about the absence of those you love. Recently, I read a blog my friend wrote about Alzheimer’s and he share that Nancy Reagan called this disease, “The Long Good-bye”. I would like to attach that same moniker to ALS. Every day I wish to be healed, as well as just die. Please do not take this as me complaining or feeling suicidal. An ALS patient becomes a prisoner in their body. You cannot talk, walk, eat normally, and breathe without assistance 24/7. For me, no matter how much love is shown, I somehow experience feelings of being alone. I have had panic attacks while feeling as though I were trapped in a box tucked away out of sight and the loudest screams would not attract attention. All this while sitting with people who love me in the same room.
ALS is for certain a very long goodbye to this world and those lives that have been such a loving part of the journey. I am eternally grateful to know for many in my family and network of friends that when I depart this life it will not be a final goodbye. In the summer of 1977, I asked Jesus Christ to save me from an eternal separation from Him. He did exactly as His word promises (Romans 10:13). He saved me and sealed me until the day I see Him face to face (Ephesians 4:30). I look forward to that day. At the same time, I am not eager to leave here. My family who I love so very much will be left behind and I know that dreaded feeling of losing someone. The peace I have is that I know for sure I will be in Heaven with my Savior and that my family and many others I love will join me one day.
I have spent the majority of my adult life in the ministry sharing God’s word. I enjoy sharing the gospel more than preaching or teaching because I believe there is nothing more important than knowing the day you die (1 John 5:13) where you will spend eternity. God has allowed me to see many come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is my wish that anyone reading this who is unsure of their eternal existence would please read the page on our site explaining that.