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      Caregivers experience highs and lows as they take care of  their loved one with ALS. My father had symptoms for years and because we have such a high rate of ALS in the family, he never went to the doctors to get an official diagnoses. I watched him slowly decline as he refused to talk specifically about his health. He would talk about the family line and share stories of family members I had never met.  We would spend countless hours sitting on the front porch staring off into the distance often in silence. He would listen for the wolves to howl and watch for animal life to walk across his property. (He had 42 acres in rural SE Missouri) His property is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.  It broke my heart when he could no longer walk to the pond on his farm to feed his catfish, something he enjoyed so. We had some great moments sitting on that front porch! When he became unable to walk he would sit at the window in his living room and watch me chase my puppy around the front yard  (a small stubborn Pomeranian) and he would laugh and laugh when she out maneuvered me time and time again. I had know idea at the time, my pup, Tiffany was source of comfort for both of us.

      There are good days and difficult days as Kristin describes in her column    Kristin describes how she works through some of those challenging days by writing, exercising or some other activity. I found ways to appreciate the good moments and work through the difficult ones too. I often spent time reading, going through old pictures with my father and I spent a lot of time with my dog. Actually, my dog and I spent a lot of time with my dad. Tiffany, brought comfort to both my father and myself.  She made us laugh and smile with her antics. My father and I spent hours trying to train Tiffany. I worked with her  and he coached me giving me advice and encouraging her. She would spend hours on his lap or in his bed with him getting spoiled. Looking back, I can see just how important it was to have a way of working through all the emotions I was experiencing.

      What do you do to help you appreciate the good times and to work through the challenging times? Do you read? Draw? Exercise? How do you celebrate and appreciate the happy moments?

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