He was a cousin of another generation, younger than the first batch of us. I remember him as a baby and then as an adult home from the service because he was sick, they said, and then diagnosed with ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.What I knew about him I learned from his mother, my aunt. She said he loved life and I often wondered how could he love a life that offered him so little. Then I thought about the circle around him, of friends and family, what a gift. I know of some, with two good legs and arms and hands that work just fine, and yet they live solitary lives, with no one to love them, or worry about them, no one to pray for relief if they were to suffer serious illness. They are empty people. I don’t have a clue what his family has been through but all I do know is that my cousin was a lucky man to have the family and friends he did.
I must confess I have told his story many times, particularly at work. When someone would complain, sometimes about the stupidest stuff, like simple aches and pains, and even more serious issues, I’d tell them about my cousin who was not able to do much more than blink his eyelids; how much he’d love for a leg with a knee that hurts, or achy arms and hands that could turn a car key, hold a spoon or touch the one he loves. They always shut up after I told my cousin’s story. And, many times I’ve had to remind myself that what I considered a limitation he would have thought of as freedom.
My cousin died today. His life showed me how to live. Rest in peace…no I take that back…don’t rest. Raise hell, run, dance, sing loud and take in the life in heaven you never got to live here on earth.