Joyful Sorrow - a Column by Kristin Neva

patients, strength, bittersweet

Kristin Neva is an author, mother of two, and caregiver for her husband, Todd, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2010 when he was 39 years old. Knowing they would need family support, they moved to Upper Michigan and built an accessible home on property next to Kristin’s childhood home. Kristin enjoys spending time outdoors, especially on the shore of Lake Superior in the summer. Todd no longer has use of his limbs, but he stays active working on projects on his computer using adaptive technology. They try to find joy in the midst of sorrow as Todd’s health declines.

How I’m Finding Solace in Creative Work

On my daily walk, I take a detour from the field and into the woods because I’m on the hunt for birch bark and pine cones. It’s the season for collecting natural accents to use on my Christmas wreaths, which I’ll start making in a month. I sell them…

How Caregiving for a Spouse With ALS Has Aged Me

Last week at Walgreens, the cashier asked me if I got the senior discount. I’ve never been asked that before, but perhaps the stress of caring for my disabled husband has finally caught up to me. “How old do you need to be to be considered a senior?” I asked.

Celebrating Today While Wondering About the Future

As summer comes to an end, we’ve recently passed a couple milestones. Our son, Isaac, celebrated his 13th birthday at the end of August. That was not something we thought my husband, Todd, would live to see when he was diagnosed with ALS. Isaac was only 9 months old…

The Challenges of Hiring Nighttime ALS Caregivers

“It’s just one night. It’ll be fine,” my husband, Todd, said after his night caregiver contacted me late one evening to explain she was dealing with a family emergency. Todd is paralyzed from ALS and needs to be turned and have his limbs adjusted throughout the night. It was…

‘Life Is Pain’: Living Day by Day With ALS

Months after my husband, Todd, was diagnosed with ALS, our church’s worship leader asked us to participate in a Sunday morning service with “Cardboard Testimonies.” We watched an example on YouTube in which music played while people stood in front of the congregation and shared their stories. Presenters didn’t…