Carol Lodholz

First post: Jan 15, 2017 Latest post: Mar 8, 2017
Carol was diagnosed in August 2016 with ALS, only a month after the death of her husband, Johnny.  With the help of family and friends she sorted and packed her belongings and moved from Doylestown, PA to Jupiter Florida to spend her days in the warmth and sunshine surrounded by the loving Sauerberg family and those friends and family who are able to visit.  Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.  We will share Carol's journey and her health status. 

From Carol's note to family and friends in the fall of 2016: 

Even though I have ALS I plan to continue giving some of my life philosophy and
love. I have had many conversations with my family, especially my grandchildren
and dear friends. They have come see me in Florida and it has brought me joy. I
ask God how much time I have and He doesn’t get back with specifics yet is
always with me. How lucky I am! No, the word is blessed! We’ll find our way
through difficult days and make them “golden days”.

Lessons of Love by Krista

I climb up on the bed with great effort, pulling myself up
and hang my feet over the bed where they dangle back and forth.  Maybe I am three or four. I see her standing
at the mirror putting on the lipstick and mascara with precision, making
herself so beautiful she gleams in the fading afternoon sunlight. I breathe in
the Arpege perfume she was given by my Dad for a gift and admire the latest
dress from Saks.  I know it was from Saks
because my Dad still reminds me 45 years later as we drive down Wisconsin
Avenue that this is where my Mom “bought all her dresses.” I know that this is
the best part of the night to come as they headed out for some magical adventure.  I will not have my back rubbed gently to
sleep, but this part of the day, watching this metamorphosis from exhausted mother
of four young children to angel before my eyes was always worth the climb.
Lucky for all of us, she was simply this beautiful on the inside too.

Those brief moments of putting herself first faded with the many
struggles to come. The divorce, leaving her alone with four small children was
perhaps the first great test of her mettle.   It
always seemed the years were filled with someone in need of her love and
attention and she dutifully soldiered on without complaint. She cared for her
mother, sick children, sick grandchildren and sick husbands. She made casseroles,
pies and sang lullabies. A million goodnights singing the itsy bitsy spider as
she watches tiny eyelids slowly close. She made beautiful paintings of places
and people she loved and places far beyond this world. She explored her life,
her mistakes, adventures, loves and triumphs and she explored ideas of life
beyond this one. Her writing deeper and more authentic than comfort sometimes
allowed.  She never missed a step, until
she did. She missed the step again and again. 
First falling into the wood stove during the relentless nights of
caretaking of her beloved husband from the dementia and cancer, nights that
would barely be survived by those 40 years younger.  We were not alarmed, after all, who can wake
up 8 times a night over and over at the age of 78? She must be tired, so tired,
and when he is gone she will rest and she will be ok.  But no amount of rest seemed to steady her
gait or return her strong voice full of all the advice and reassurance we were
all so accustomed too.  And when the
doctor solemnly asked “How are you at bad news” she simply laughed and said she
was quite used to it. ALS. Three letters I can only liken to a car crash in very
slow motion.

The inevitable “whys” of this cruel fate would be a question
my Mom never pondered, at least out loud. Her disclosure to her family and many
friends of the grim diagnosis reads as if she was announcing an adventure to
some far away land, the ultimate glass half full, she has already had a life
well lived.  Mom’s response was a fiery
affirmation of relentless determination to live each day she had left doing all
the things she loves to do for as long as this disease will allow and to ultimately
choose how her story ends.  We all know
we are going to die someday she says matter –of- factly, I just know how I will
go.  Answer to the often-asked question
from one of my very best friends as to why I am so annoyingly positive all the
time has been answered, apple/tree.

She is still that beautiful to me. Me not so much, as these
days my eyes often swell with tears over and over thinking of all the things we
would do once he was gone, her all encompassing caretaking done, the time we
would make up, the adventures we would have.  First stop was to be The Louvre, of course. I
will prepare myself for a world where I can only hear her voice as a memory.
Lucky for me for those I have lost in this life it is their voices and laughter
I still hear so clearly. I will steel myself to watch her struggle and
ultimately brace myself for her departure from this life and the unimaginable,
a life without my Mom . We will have adventures but they will be different then
those I previously imagined.  The
adventures will be better in some ways, sweeter even, as we are now so deeply
sensitized to the importance of each moment that passes. That’s the gift of the
suffering of others, the only real meaning I can find in it all, that we are
jolted from our complacency and our complaining and our drowning in the
problems that really won’t matter at all in the end.  She will continue to teach us lessons of love
and strength and that both are immeasurable.

As I board the plane to help her pack a lifetime of memories
to bring on what will be her last of many moves I am reminded of how tiny all
my efforts will be in comparison to all she has done for us.  We are so blessed to be the ones who will see
her through this journey day to day. We will not be alone, for when you live
your life the way my Mom has there are so many who want to give her the comfort
and care she so deserves. Karma.  One
thing I know for certain, my Mom’s beauty will live eternally in her talented
artistic grandchildren and her prolific portfolio of art hanging as proudly in
the homes of those who love her as it will in the Mitchner Museum.   The other thing I know is that ALS has picked
a formidable adversary who will battle its immeasurable cruelty with love, and
she will win.


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