Dear Friends & Family,
What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others remains.
Curt & I met Russell and Kristina in February of 2011. Russell had been diagnosed with ALS in October of 2008, one year before Curt. They came to our house for drinks and appetizers. Curt was in a wheelchair, Russell was barely able to walk to the backyard. Curt held his own beer glass, Russell couldn't use his arms at all. Curt's speech was slow and slurred, Russell's was normal. That's how the night went; comparing strengths and weaknesses, struggles and surrenders. While the guys talked and laughed about their lives, Kristina and I kept busy with straws, jackets, refills and whatever else our men needed. She and I had met before and would meet often after this evening, without the men, to discuss our own struggles with caring for our dying husbands.
Russell and Kristina joined us again in May of 2011 for dinner. By this time, Curt could not use his arms at all and Russell could not walk. So with both men in wheelchairs and unable to feed themselves, they sat in the backyard on a warm evening being fed spaghetti by Kristina and I. The guys were comfortable together. Talking and relating to all they faced each day. They understood each other like no one else could. We left them alone for awhile so they could talk openly and honestly. After they left that night, Curt said he really, really enjoyed visiting with Russell and felt they understood each other so well.
Russell, Kristina and their son Mitchell (6) moved to Oregon that summer. Although Kristina and I kept in touch, there was no way for our men to communicate. Before ALS he was a tall, strong man, a hands-on father and a loving husband. The disease took its toll on him, as it did Curt, ending his life as he struggled for each breath. Kristina and his parents were with him as he passed away 10 days ago, March 28, 2013; 4.5 years after being diagnosed and a week after turning 50.
Kristina and I know that our husbands are no longer suffering. We are thankful for our friendship and communicate often as we try to find our new place in this world. Please pray for Kristina and Mitchell and their friends and family.
|Russell & Kristina |