The main reason why I started this blog, well, outside of my brother’s constant nagging, was that I wanted to force myself to come up with things to write on a continual basis. And, I have to say, finding topic to ramble on about hasn’t been as difficult thus far as I thought that it’d be — especially over the last few days. The things that have been coming to mind seem endless but one thing that I found out a few days ago has put me into the equivalent of a mid-air stall. And it’s not that I the ideas haven’t been coming, it’s that there’s something on the forefront of my mind that I really don’t know how to express.
The other day, I found out that a long-time friend of the family has recently been diagnosed with ALS. For those of you who don’t know anything about ALS, it’s a disorder that causes nerve cells to waste away and die. It can start with things like slurred speech or weakness and it ends with progressive paralysis, an inability to breathe or swallow and death. And, since the disease focuses only on the nerves in the motor system though, people with ALS don’t experience a loss of sight, smell, touch or taste. In short, it’s a horrible way to die.
In this particular case, the person has been a runner ever since I can remember and, though he’s got to be in his late 60’s to early 70’s, he’s even recently been running marathons. He’s said that he’ll keep up his running schedule as long as he can but it’ll be a sad day when he has to hang up the shoes for good.
Though I haven’t spoken with him a whole lot over the last 15 years or so, he’s always been an icon of sorts for me. I look at him and I see someone who’s done it right — he’s lived a clean life, exercised, enjoyed what he’s done for a living, seemed to have handled family issues well and is overall a really good guy. He’s one of those people whom you always expect to be there, who will never age, become frail or cease to be on this earth. Perhaps some of that is due to the fact that I haven’t seen him a whole lot but last year but I did catch him running on a road near my house recently, which is a good 8-10 miles away from his. And now, over the next few years, he’ll go from being an active, healthy individual to someone who’s wheelchair bound and whose head will need support to remain up. Thinking about what lies ahead for him just doesn’t seem right.
I know that there are many who are much more qualified than I to talk about this stuff, I’ve been very fortunate in this regard so far. But when I get clued in to the fact that someone that I hold high regard is actually human, it shatters a small part of my foundation. That may sound weird, trite or even selfish, but that’s how it feels. So what is there to say: hang in there Mr. H? I think that this is one of the occasions where words fail, when they are entirely insufficient for expressing feelings or thoughts. So much of the time I can’t wait to open my mouth and allow endless streams of nonsense flow but now, nothing. So again, what does one say, what can possibly emotions or feeling in situations such as these? I guess I’ll just leave it at this: thank you so much Mr. H for being the person that you are and will continue to be — you’ve had more of an impact in life than you could ever know.