Birthday Musings (from March 6)

Today is my birthday. I am not one of those who note that day, it’s just another day on the calendar. That said, they are much more important as it is a tool to measure how the ALS is affecting my body.

I’m what many call a slow progressor. What does that mean exactly? I don’t rightly know, except that it isn’t fast.

I have been truly blessed in my Walk with ALS. I can’t say all of my blessings, so I’m just going to mention 2. God has provided a sense of calm/peace, understanding and acceptance. I truly am not fearful of the progression and how it affects me.

The other blessing is Karen Clough. Not only do I have ALS, she does too, except hers is harder. I could not have the calm and peace without her by my side. But what that means to her is more work in preparing meals, cleaning dishes, doing laundry, vacuuming and mopping I used to do the latter things and I used to do the BBQ.

She gets to see me struggle more each day, even taking a small step is like running hills. She thinks in different ways than I do, thankfully. I think about a vacation with just her (that’s a good thing), but she thinks of a family vacation (that’s a MUCH better thing, especially with 4 new grandkids). We have been very blessed to have spent the last 2 summer vacations with my sister, Carol Clough Borden, and her family as well.

But back to Karen. She sees the kids playing and knows that I won’t be able to do much. I guess they could use me as a safe place on a game of tag or an immovable target for water balloons, or second base.

Karen is also the lucky recipient of broken dreams and retirement plans. We had looked forward to the back end of our marriage for adventure and fun. Well, I guess I have provided that, just not the way we wanted to experience it.

She changed diapers when the kids were little and is learning at clinics how to do that on a 250# man. She is not one for the spotlight, but is by my side when we are asked to present something. I think she is the leveling factor… Pretty to balance out my manliness. She does not particularly like it, but she does it without complaining, and she looks beautiful when she does

She get to look forward to living by herself. Something she hasn’t done before. She went from parents, to husband, to kids, to me, to kids moving out, hint, hint Jon :). I am glad we have a big dog and I’ve filed his teeth to very sharp points. Not really, they are sharp enough as they are.

She not only had to suffer with me, and my bad dad jokes, but also everytime I go to clinic, support group, DC, Florida and even when we go to dinner, a special area has been set aside for us, because of my HUGE wheelchair (not as huge any longer, but heavier).

On my birthday, I want to celebrate God, Karen and all of you, family and friends, who make this journey so much easier. You have no idea how much that helps.

I don’t know how many more birthdays I’ll have, but I want to live them the way I live every other day…. Full of love and passion and purpose.. I love you all, but mostly Karen and Jesus.

Today I get to eat my free day at the Joe’s family of restaurants. Later this month I get the Black Bear Diner, the Keg and Rodizio (for a free Brazilian extravaganza). Not all in 1 day, but very easily when I was 18, or 19, or 20.

Thank you and have a great day and week.

Love Life and LIVE LIFE!!!

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