For Mother’s Day
In honor of Mother’s Day, ALS Connections is happy to have guest blogger, Katelynn, share a special story.
In December 2011 my Grandma Paulette was diagnosed with ALS. ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, but is better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a disease that affects a person’s ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow, and eventually their breathing. The progression of losing these abilities varies for each patient. However, the person never loses the ability to think the way they did before their diagnosis.
When my grandma was diagnosed with ALS, she was in total denial. She screamed at the doctor, telling them they needed to fix it. My grandma was such a strong woman. I couldn’t even imagine how she felt hearing those words come out of the doctor’s mouth. As she held on, I noticed every time we went to visit, she was getting really skinny. It was also getting harder to understand her. Sometimes I felt guilty that I rarely looked at her when she was in her wheel chair. I tried to make her feel normal again, which she still was.
As time went on, the whole family was used to my grandma’s physical state. But, we knew her time was getting shorter. Everyone was trying to hide the tears; even I was at times. Although everyone was sad, no one showed it and I tried my best to share my happiness. Every ounce I had. My grandma, this whole time, thought she was just a burden. No one thought that way about her. As soon as my mom told me what she said, I gave my grandma the biggest hug I could ever give.
My last big trip with her was to Disney World. It was her favorite place in the world. She had so much fun and I had a blast. Seeing her smile made my day. This was her last wish. It was only right we grant it. We went on her favorite ride: The Jungle Cruise. The workers there were astonished and did very bad job of making her feel comfortable. They put her in the middle, right in the sun, and they were talking to her like she was two. My family was frustrated because my grandma wasn’t stupid. The workers just didn’t get it.
Close to the end of our trip, we went to the bird show at Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, our family was split up in different sections of the arena. The manager felt bad afterward, so he gave us a private show. Then he took a picture and my grandma’s smile was so huge. When I saw it, I smiled, too!
The day we were driving home, we stopped at the beach in Charleston, SC. Everything was fine and my mom, stepdad, my brothers and I were happy as possible. Until we got the phone call that my grandma’s condition had gotten worse. She only had a few hours to live. The next day, my grandma passed away. She is in a better place now. Every time I get sad about her passing, I remember that smile she had on her face, even though she was in pain. She is one of the biggest reasons I don’t give up on things I’ve started. She’s taught me to never give up and always be positive. I love and miss her. Love you Grandma Paulette!
- Posted: May 12th, 2013 | Comments: 0