Have you seen all the posts in the ALS series?

ALS – The Brother-in-law: Krister

I don’t have the right words to really describe the time I have been able to spend with Thor and Veronique during her last months of life. I came here very hesitant, not knowing how I would handle myself, or how I would be of value. These are the moments in life when we feel the least prepared for what is in front of us. It is as if you are looking life in the eye and you are called to simply accept and move with the flow. That is what I did.

When I arrived in November of 2020, Veronique was already confined to the wheelchair. And it is strange to say, but I realised that I hardly knew her any other way. Unlike Thor and the kids, or her friends, I did not have vivid memories of a Veronique who could run, jump and play. Maybe that says more about my memory than anything else, but my lasting memory of her will be in a wheelchair. And yet, I am happy I got to know her that way.

Quite soon after my arrival, I gave her a first massage. That massage took place on a massage table. Shortly after that, the transfers became too strenuous for her and she preferred to remain in her chair. So I adjusted. I found ways to move and massage her sore and aching body and so provide just a little more comfort. It was truly humbling. Even though she had just received a relaxing massage, it changed nothing regarding her condition. I would walk away to do something else while she remained in the same position I had found her in. But Veronique was always so thankful, very true to her nature.

Massage was only one aspect of the caregiving. When a person suddenly becomes unable to help themselves, you suddenly realise how much of their (and our) lives is simply routine. Get out of bed, use the toilet, eat breakfast, eat lunch, eat dinner, use the toilet, go to bed and repeat. Of course there is a lot of social activity in between all of that, but this is mostly what the days are comprised of. For a normal person, all these actions are accomplished without much effort. But to get Veronique through each day took strength and dedication from all of us. Most of all, from Thor. Where ever possible, I made myself available to take some of the pressure off. My presence also made it possible for Thor to get out of the house, confident that Veronique was in good hands.

And when I wasn’t needed inside, a large portion of my time was spent outside helping to build an extension to the home…but that is better saved for the next post.

Have you seen all the posts in the ALS series?

Privacy Preference Center