Sitting in the movie theater, early to arrive, as usual.  Chris is at the snack bar and I am alone with my thoughts.  I am remembering a similar time, two years ago, both before and after my diagnosis.  Filled with fear as I wondered what would be found, causing me to speak in this new, inarticulate way, and after the diagnosis came, wondering how I would be able to live the rest of my life with the threat of sure death facing me.

Remembering what it was like before the ALS diagnosis and early signs that something was awry.  We were in that space of normalcy, confident in the routine of our lives. 

Now, as I reminisce, I am glad that I didn’t know what to expect.  There was a lot of fear in not knowing, but the progression has happened in tiny, almost undetectable snippets.  Cumulatively, it is huge, as I think about all of the abilities that have been forever lost.   Abilities that I never imagined losing.

People respond to their death promise in a myriad of ways.  Some, in an attempt to squeeze a lifetime in two or three years, travel the world.  My choice was to live what time I have left in familiarity.  I had procrastinated greatly all my lfe, assuming I had limitless time to see those things that were on my invisible “bucket list.”  And as time went on, and we adjusted to the inevitable acceptance of my disease, I realized that all of my plans that required physical exertion would be eliminated. 

Even now, with an invitation to go to the mountains with other ALS patients and their families, it seems too overwhelming to attempt.  Just looking at each day as it comes can be a challenge.  My disease is forcing me to live “in the moment,” something that was nearly impossible for me when I was healthy.  Being in the moment, fully present, was always difficult for me to achieve because my mind was constantly pulling me in a million different directions.   Now, because the way I feel, in any given moment, is so precarious, I don’t plan.  I don’t fill my mind with fear of the future, or pain from the past.  I am here, now.   When I feel peaceful, when I can breathe, I am filled with gratitude.

And so, I share these thoughts, just in case my readers share that challenge of being fully present in any given moment.  When our minds are full of plans and concern for the future; when we perseverate about the past and remember every detail of how someone hurt us, or of lost opportunities, we cannot achieve inner peace.   To accept the fact that control is truly an illusion, we are left with countless opportunities to enjoy and appreciate. 

Now, when I take the time to accept my Mollie’s invitation to rub her belly and watch the bliss that comes over her face, I, too am transformed.   When I have my morning feeding with two eighteen pound cats on my lap, purring loudly, I am with them.  I put down the newspaper, the iPad and stroke their silky furr and feel close to them.  I purr right along with them, if only in my mind.

On this Memorial Day, I remember all of the great women who have left this world before me, after blessing me with their presence in my life.   I am the appreciative recipient of their love, their wisdom, the lessons they shared which help me now.  It is my strong desire that I may share my journey with you, dear reader, and in some small way create a new sense of hope and gladness.  Know that you have immense power to create the life you want.   Being  fully present is an important beginning to achieving that goal.

God Bless you, one and all.