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.

He said,

“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.

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6 Responses to “The Caregiver Series : All Roads Lead Back Home, Part III”

  1. on 18 Feb 2013 at 8:37 amL.Shanna

    I lost a friend to ALS a year and a half ago, and I’m so sorry to hear about the pain of this family. They are very fortunate to have each other during this time. Katie will find strength in these memories as they face the coming months and years. All the best to them.

  2. on 18 Feb 2013 at 10:04 amPhillip Timp

    As Katie’s dad fighting this disease, I am obviously moved and so motivated by my daughter’s perfect perspective on what she is learning about life through this journey and who she is becoming in the face of this challenging mountain she and my family are climbing. Thank you, Kristine, for posting this important life-altering series. It’s brightened my day!

  3. on 18 Feb 2013 at 11:13 amSue Kennedy

    Katie,
    One of my fondest memories of your dad is the Christmas Eve Services at Wise Baptist Church. He always sang “O Holy Night”. Nobody (in my opinion) has ever done it better. They all pale in comparison to his version.

    I know that you have such a supportive family and you will be surrounded by them as you help your dad. My prayers for you and all your family.

    One of my favorite scriptures: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not peace that is of the world but peace that is of God. Let not your heart be troubled, let it not be afraid.

    Blessings,
    Sue

  4. on 18 Feb 2013 at 1:22 pmKristine Rudolph

    Phil, It’s been an honor to share your family’s story.

  5. on 19 Feb 2013 at 11:11 pmSherri Davidson Ginn

    The Timp family entered my life 26 years ago or maybe I should say, I entered theirs. As a college grad, having little financial success with the substituting jobs in SWVA, I answered an add in the Bristol paper for childcare provider. Thus, began my lifetime with a family that has opened my eyes in so many ways.
    Phil and Cindy have always lived life seeing the silver linings. The life threatening challenges faced by their oldest child brought me to tears many times. Add to those challenges the fight they waged for her education and the reality that they have two other children to raise, that need their parents. The division of attention took on a whole new meaning in Timp family.
    I had the blessing of witnessing this family walk the talk of faith first and family second every day of their lives. As their “Nanny” for several years, I have been in the home when Phil came in from a run, got ready for work, sang a song to Katie, read a book to Bethie (Joseph had yet to arrive) and before heading out the door he would ask if I could work on Sat night so he and Cindy could have a date. He and Cindy have been an unwavering team for as long as I have known them. I love them all and am forever blessed.

  6. on 20 Feb 2013 at 9:24 amSusan

    Blessings to you all, Timp family! What an inspiration you are to others in similar situations. I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with ALS and I am going to share your story with them. My dad died recently after a long fight with leukemia and then dementia but we were able for him to be at home in his last years without medical intervention. He died with dignity with his family present and it was a beautiful thing to witness as he entered heaven. I pray the same peace and love and joy will be present for your family unless Jesus decides to return soon! Hang in there……God is good even when it is hard to see.

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