This years Thanksgiving was exceptional in so many ways.

For one thing, I wasn't 100% sure I was going to make it to Thanksgiving. When you're living with an aggressive case of ALS, there are no assurances.

But I had a Thanksgiving that was memorable and wonderful in so many ways. So many exciting and joyous family events took place in the days immediately prior to this most American of holidays. Discretion forbids me from listing them all at the moment, but the biggest news for Dee and me was the birth of our very first grandchild, who came to reside among us earth-dwellers on November 14th, exactly the date on which she was predicted to show up. As if that were not enough our daughter Mel showed up with her partner, Emmanuel, and their little bundle of joy just before we were about to begin the Thanksgiving festivities. My heart was filled to bursting with joy.

Thanksgiving this year was about so much more than the bounteous table spread before us, laden with dishes we have eaten for decades. It was about our loving circle of friends and our expanding family, all of whom have brought me so much joy in the last few weeks. It was about being with the people I love most - and hearing from the ones who could not be physically present.

Being able to hold my grand-daughter in my (mostly non-functional) arms was a treat I never dreamed I would live to enjoy. And to be in the constant presence of my loving, caring wife and daughters is another blessing beyond measure.

If I were a bettin' man I would say this was probably my last Thanksgiving - let's be honest. But this one had everything I could ever ask for.


Yesterday we endured a three hour round trip to the Emory Clinic in order for them to tell me what I already know: I am beginning to circle the drain.

My respiratory function - 50% on October 5th has now dropped to a mere 23%. This is, to use the words of Captain Obvious, "Not Good." This illness has raged through me like a forest fire. It is burning me out. I have two choices at this point: to have them put a hole in my trachea and ventilate me until I am completely locked in, or the power goes out - whichever comes first; or to just place me in the comforting hands of hospice and the first option is not only of no interest to me but is probably something I'm too late for.

So the bottom line is that, as of yesterday afternoon I am now under hospice care. Some people see that word and are terrified of it. And, in a certain way it does mean I am getting close to the cliff that we all eventually must march towards. But I see hospice as a way to soothe what remains of my journey. I only wish that our mother had been able to avail herself of its services.

My world has become circumscribed. My appetite is diminished. I take comfort in bedtime and mostly I take comfort in the tender ministrations of my beloved family and the company of my friends.

I'm not in a hurry, mind you but I am a realist and I am preparing myself for the inevitable coda of my life's sweet symphony.


There are plenty of belief systems out there. In some of them, angels play a role.

In my younger days, I used to lump the belief in angels into the same category of other forms of religious mumbo-jumbo. But I can tell you that angels are real: I am surrounded by them.

When you're in my situation - totally dependent on others for every aspect of your existence - the people who take care of you are no longer merely family and friends. They are angels. I honestly don't know how I could exist without them. There are almost too many to name, but the ones that play the most significant role in my life today are Dee and my daughter, Jocelyn. This is not to slight elder daughter, Mel, but right now she is quite rightly pre-occupied with an even more important job: preparing to bring a new life into this world. It doesn't stop there. My brother, Dan. My helper, Rodney. My friend, Eric. And so many others. 

Every person who has come by to visit and spend some time either baby-sitting me or just having some conversation - all of you are angels and I am in angelic company 24/7.


Yesterday was Halloween.

My, how things change in a year. Last year, we lived in a neighborhood where we were besieged by trick-or-treaters, sometimes doling out candy to hundreds of kids. This year, not one single ring of the doorbell. It's not like we live in an Old Folks Development now, it's just that there are only a handful of kids in our new neighborhood. Not only that, but the way our home is situated on our lot, it's not obvious where our front door is. You have to be really hard up for your candy dose to go hunting for it.

I was trying to decide how to dress up for this years festivities. I would make a creditable scarecrow with a bit of makeup. Or, with a little costuming, I would make a great Raggedy Andy. I have about the same degree of muscular control as does a rag doll - the main difference is that I have bones.

One of the upsides? I can absorb every calorie I can eat. I can stuff as much Halloween candy down my pie hole as I care to. Getting plenty of food energy is one of my missions in life. Salads? Pfaugh.


When I decided to start this blog - my third! - I had to select an appropriate name for it. I decided on the one you see above, but several...

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