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.

ALS Awareness Is Good, but Action Is Better

In the summer of 2014, people across the world dumped water over their heads in the ALS ice bucket challenge and shared videos of the experience on social media. Our son, Isaac, who was 4 at the time, did it, saying, “I’m having my aunties and uncles do the…

Facing Uncertainty in Life With ALS

Life is unpredictable. People get in car accidents. They have heart attacks. Tornadoes strike. I recently saw a viral video in which a rabid bobcat attacked a woman outside her home. We never really know what will happen next, and yet, we humans usually live with optimism for the…

Wanting More Than Family Screen Time

Family movie nights are great, but it’s a challenge to think of other things we can do together now that my husband, Todd, is paralyzed from ALS. I’ve long had a love-hate relationship with screens. I once envisioned myself as a mother who would encourage creative, independent play. My…

Spring Break With ALS Comes With Sacrifice and Love

I think a lot about how a parent’s ALS affects kids. Recently, an online friend lost her husband to ALS. She has small children and has been posting about their grief and the tender questions her kids have asked. It’s difficult enough for an adult to process the pain of…

‘Why Didn’t You Tell Me I Was Happy?’

After my husband, Todd, was diagnosed with ALS, we thought he would have at most five years to live. We started with only two major goals: take a family vacation together with our toddler and preschooler, and build an accessible home. We did both of those things within the…

Discovering the World Is Broken

“What the heck happened to that guy?” a young boy called loudly to a woman leading him and other preschool children across the parking lot. I was loading my husband, Todd, into the back of our accessible van, having just gotten our COVID-19 vaccinations. It was the first time…