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ALS – The Setting : Santa Cruz, CA

When a person is diagnosed with a terminal condition such as ALS, life quickly becomes very focussed. Whether you are the patient, family member or a care-giver, everyone is faced with the fragility of life and an ultimate inability to make it otherwise. As in the case of Veronique the ALS proceeded at a relatively quick pace. By the time I arrived, she had already lost the use of her legs and spent her waking hours in her motorised wheelchair. A lot of the focus lay in finding ways to keep her comfortable.

My main mission here in California was to support my brother and sister-in-law and carry some of the immense weight on their shoulders. That support came in the form of daily massages for Veronique and help around the house as well as working alongside the contractor who was building the addition to the home.

There was always something to be done. And ALS doesn’t give you any ‘days off’.

So it is easy, in the middle of this process to lose sight of many of the beautiful aspects of life that still surround us. If you are not careful, you start living a life within a life. In order to avoid that situation, you have to occasionally step out of the immediate situation and reacquaint yourself with ‘normal’ life. In a place like Santa Cruz, the beauty is never far away. Whenever possible, we brought Veronique out of the house and into some of that beauty. It always had an uplifting affect on her emotions and brought a smile to her face.

Being in contact with nature lightens the load a bit. It reminds us that, even in the hardest of times, there are always things to be thankful for in life. Veronique would wholeheartedly agree.

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