Patricia McMorrow | 11.06.14
Supporting my friend and her husband as he died of ALS was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
It all began seven years ago when I met a new friend named Lecia. Her husband, Jim, had recently been diagnosed with a terminal and extremely debilitating disease called ALS. At the time she had two young boys to care for too.
Managing a Group of Caregivers
Fortunately, they trusted me enough to let me join them on their journey for the next five years until sadly Jim passed away. During this time, I managed an amazing group of about 25 to 40 volunteers who supported this family by delivering meals, purchasing groceries, mowing the yard, cleaning the house and much more.
With Them Every Step of the Way
Helping Jim and Lecia through five years of ups, but mostly downs broke my heart. But through each tear and feeling of frustrated helplessness, we knew that at least we were there. With each act of service, we were reminding Jim, Lecia and the boys that they were not alone in this struggle. And because we served as a crew, we also had each other to lean on.
We were with them every step of the way. And although I would have preferred to eradicate his disease, I coped with the knowledge that we were doing the best we could in a horrible situation.
Finding Strength and Courage
Some people may say, “It’s too hard. I can’t see him. I can’t be reminded of how tragic and unfair life is.” But how is this helping anyone?
Take it from me. I know it is scary. I know it is hard. But when you find the courage to walk with someone through utter darkness, you will also find the strength to bear it.
Yes, helping Jim, Lecia and the boys was a challenging journey for me. But it’s kind of like climbing a tall mountain. It may be filled with twists, turns and huge rocks. But by the time you reach the top, you are stronger, wiser and get the rare opportunity to view the world in a unique and sometimes beautiful way.
Do you know a caregiver who could use some support?
Share this post with them and send them a note of encouragement.
Elizabeth A. Billups is the author of “The Carry Crew Concept: How to Build Crews to Carry People in Hard Times.” She encourages you to please visit <a title=”carrycrew.com” href=”http://carrycrew.com/”>carrycrew.com</a> to learn how to carry your friends during hard times.