I'm quickly getting used to the constancy of having Katherine in my life. She is happily sitting next to me, enjoying some more of the Greek salad we prepared together for our dinner last night. We just got my laundry going. Next we will spend a couple of hours just enjoying each other's company, waiting for the wash and dry cycles to complete. She will spend her evening at home, in her own home, while I will head out to my regular Tuesday trivia night.
She is well-used to my needs with respect to ALS, well-experienced with the failings of my body, the damage to my spirit. More than once I have been reminded in her kindness that I have not lost all of that which makes me a man. She is tender with those parts of me which are damaged, yet demands that I do what I can for myself even when I don't want to do it. She puts lotion on my ruptured feet and powder on my rashed skin, all the while demanding that I do my laundry and help with the dishes.
Last night was a great example of how all of this can, and does, work for both of us. We hosted some friends for dinner. We prepared dinner together, we prepared dessert together, each of us doing what we could and ensuring the other could help. I sliced vegetables for the Greek salad while she peeled, cored and sliced apples for our apple crisp dessert. She got the dishes out of the cupboard while I set the table. She readied the stove while I prepared the lamb for roasting. In other words, we worked together, her knowing what I could do yet ensuring I did what I should.
There is a reason people in stable, committed relationships do better than those who are not, whether it be in life or with ALS. It's simple. If you care, you can be cared for. If you work together, you can be helpful and helped. If life is good, it's worth hanging around a while longer. I am lucky, both to have Katherine, and to have so many other people in my life, people like Cheryl, Dion, Mike, Brad, Tonny, David, Anisa, Dan and so many others, along with my lifelong friends like two Chris'. If you have to have a shitty disease, this is the way to do it.
The blog was posted originally on February 24, 2015.
About the Author
Born in Victoria, British Columbia, far too long ago to make a difference here, Richard McBride was, up until recently, a lifelong resident of the Vancouver and Fraser Valley region of Canada's most western province. McBride has had the joy of a very diverse career ranging from his first career as a stockbroker to training consultant and technology consultant to project manager.
Major changes in his life before his diagnosis of ALS meant his relocation to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was there that he received the diagnosis in November 2012. McBride continues to share his life and experiences both through his blog titled Richard is Living with ALS and through a tremendous group of friends, support specialists, and most importantly, with his four children and three grandchildren, with a fourth on the way.