I am Connor Hardy
a family member of someone we've lost to ALS
Anybody who came into contact with her felt the love and warmth transfer from her into their own life.
Writing can be therapy. My mom was an exceptional writer before and after her ALS diagnosis, and I know that writing was the ultimate therapy for her. When I think about my mom, I get varying degrees of emotions. Sometimes I smile, sometimes I laugh, sometimes I want to cry. Although, nothing brings me more emotion than writing about her. So after a bit of procrastinating, I write this memory for my mom.
Memories are difficult to compartmentalize. Sometimes I can only think about my mom when she was in the grips of her eight-year battle with ALS. She battled the disease with dignity, grace, kindness, and courage. But I also like to think about her before the diagnosis, when she could still ride horses and go for a walk with my brothers and our ever-present springer spaniels. I remember telling my mom that I had a dream about her, and she wasn’t in a wheelchair, she didn’t have ALS and was healthy and happy again, and that’s how I will always try to remember her.
Even though memories and life are sometimes painful, I think there is beauty and hope to be found in every situation. My mom used to say everything happens for a reason. I struggle with that notion. Yet I like to think my mom’s life story happened for a reason. The amount of people inspired by her life is nothing short of amazing. She was a beacon of hope and life for other people living with ALS. Living with grace and acceptance, she never let the disease win. She traveled all over, including several cruise voyages, continued writing articles for our local Erie, Pennsylvania newspaper, attended social events, and refused to complain about the unfair hand that life had dealt her.
She was also inspirational to people without ALS. The way she lived life to the fullest with her disease was incredible and infectious. Anybody who came into contact with her felt the love and warmth transfer from her into their own life. Many people want to leave their impact on the world; very few people actually do. My mom was one of those people.