Today, I bring you the touching conclusion to Katie Timp’s recollections of moving home after her father’s diagnosis with ALS.
This entry hits home for me in a lot of ways, as we face some of the same end-of-life issues with my father. I am in awe of the courage that the Timp family displays in the face of the harsh realities of ALS.
All Roads Lead Back Home, Part III – A Guest Post by Katie Timp
Living 10 minutes away, I am at my parents’ house about every other night. Throughout this year, I have seen a lot of loss with my Dad. He is no longer able to walk. He cannot stand without assistance. His right hand has begun to become weak to the point he is unable to write or eat with it. His breathing capacity has dropped and our worry is that his diaphragm is weakening, which means he will soon not be able to breathe.
A few weeks ago, my immediate family got together with my Uncle Steve and Aunt Sheila to talk about the future. This had been something my Mom and I refused to do because it only brought us sadness and dread. Sitting in a circle with those I loved the most, we began talking about the idea of a ventilator. My Uncle is a doctor and has witnessed first-hand the effect a patient with ALS going on a ventilator has on the family.
Going into the conversation my thoughts were, of course I want him on a ventilator. He has to be at my wedding. He has to meet my children. He HAS to be here. After many tears and tough words, my Dad said something that eased my mind tremendously. He said that he wants to finish his life peaking and making a difference in others’ lives.
We know that someone who does not speak or walk can have a good quality of life as we have witnessed with Beth, but he did not feel that it would be a good quality of life for him. He has had no control over what this disease has done to his body and he wants to be in control of how it would take him in the end.
“I will always be with you all, even if I’m not there physically.”
Knowing and feeling the positive perspective and love emanating from my Dad everyday, I am able to take on whatever responsibility I must to ensure that he has a good quality of life for however long that might be. I will fight until the end, just as he has fought with courage, serenity, hope and love surrounding us each day.