I am Cathy Thomas
a family member of someone we've lost to ALS
My first memory of Carolyn‘s ALS is when she drove herself across the street in her motorized wheelchair to join our Halloween festivities.
Every Halloween we have some neighbors over to our driveway to enjoy a fire pit and some adult beverages. My first memory of Carolyn‘s ALS is when she drove herself across the street in her motorized wheelchair to join our Halloween festivities. She had been having trouble with her ankles and that night she let us know her diagnosis. She said it very matter-of-factly, and actually she maintained a pragmatic and positive attitude most of the time throughout her illness. That night another neighbor shared that his mom had lived with ALS for a number of years. We could hear the sadness in his voice as he empathized with Carolyn about the ordeal that was ahead of her. Carolyn lived with ALS a long time, eight or nine years, I think. The disease started in her feet and slowly worked its way up her body. When she could still drive her wheelchair, we would go for walks around the neighborhood. She was great about listening to my difficulties with raising three boys. She offered welcome advice and I looked forward to our talks. It was really hard for me to watch Carolyn’s body progressively stop working. It made me sad. Still, in all the time we spent together, she only complained once. This was really quite amazing. I know she had a deep faith in God which is probably what helped her deal with her illness, but she knew her physical situation would only get worse. Her matter of fact approach was really remarkable. Carolyn finally died this year, and I was thankful that she had been released from her physical challenges.