It Doesn’t Have to be This Way

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We have come a long way, but not by ourselves.

The first thing we did was to go talk with our priest and get the Anointing of the Sick after my husband was diagnosed with ALS in 2002. We were both crying in the priest’s office.

Father said, “It doesn’t have to be this way”.

I totally didn’t get it at the time. All I could think was how could we not be devastated by this news?

We’re Never Alone

My husband had bought me a lovely gold crucifix that still hangs from a chain around my neck. The first few years after receiving the news were the most difficult. My husband was losing his ability to walk, to talk, to eat, to breathe! I was watching him and crying at the drop of a hat. During this time, I noticed that there was a deep rusty-looking smudge that had appeared below the right wrist of Christ on my crucifix. I would wash and scrub it to no avail. Some suggested returning it to the store because gold shouldn’t have rusted like that.

After a few years, when we were better able to deal with life, I happened to notice my crucifix. No red smudge. I know now that God was giving me a sign. I realized that by giving me the sign of His blood on my crucifix, He was showing me that He too was suffering by our side.

We’re Provided For

Eventually, my husband went into total respiratory failure, and barely made it alive to the hospital. The following Monday morning, as I was dressing to return to the hospital, I was wondering how I was going to continue working. He was now on life support and I would be bringing him home at some point. The phone rang. It was the Veterans Affairs calling to inform us that he had been approved VA Benefits due to his ALS. My husband had applied 5 1/2 years earlier, but had been denied so he appealed the decision.

I used to tell people it was a coincidence but a woman told me, “There are no coincidences with God”. Because of the VA benefits, I was able to resign from my job that I absolutely loved… but God had a better plan for me.

We’re Understood

I used to have my mother living with us while also caring for my hubby. Her dementia was getting worse. One night she was especially difficult and kept screaming from her room and getting out of bed. I was at my wits end not knowing what else to do and just started saying the “Our Father” prayer over and over until we all fell back to sleep. I was awakened at 8 am by the phone ringing again. It was the VA calling to let me know they had a 6 week course on stress management in dealing with a loved one who had Alzheimer’s; was I interested? How in the world did the VA know my mom, who was suffering from this disease, was living with me?

We have seen God’s hand in so many big and little things in our life; many times on a daily basis.

Even if it is only getting a convenient parking space at a crowded event, I just say:

“Thank you Lord, you are so kind and generous”.

When we could no longer have children, I used to dream I was pregnant and could actually feel the baby move. I would wake up and realize I wasn’t pregnant, but I would pray and pray for the miracle of another baby. Years later we were blessed with more babies: grand babies. We have 14, and another on the way. I’m able to enjoy them all the time because I don’t work!

I now understand what our parish priest meant: There is still precious life to enjoy. Pray and pray and look for the signs.

It doesn't have to be this way
Precious Life

**Mama GG**


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