We met several years ago, when a friend suggested I give him a call. That phone call changed my life.
Since then, Ron and his team at CCALS (Compassionate Care ALS), have taken care of me, supported me, lifted me up... What do I mean by that? Where do I begin?
They are there for me. They show up. They want to hear the good, the bad, the ugly, the embarrassing ugly. They know when to treat me differently. They know when to treat me the same. They create space for me-- to vent, to express my outrage, to laugh, to cry, to be silent, to be sad, to celebrate the small things, the big things, to mourn the losses. An eternal safe haven, CCALS has no bounds, no ending, no "restricted areas". They are my family and I am theirs. They aren't afraid of the dark places. They welcome the dark places, the dirty places, and hold my hand as I walk through them, while realizing that I am ultimately alone in my journey. They know my needs before I do. They anticipate. They mention something one day and the next day it arrives at my door. They contact me for no reason-- just to check in. They seem to know when I am lonely and desperate and low. NOTHING is too much to ask. They give and give and give...there is NO end. And they will help anyone in my world, and support them, help them in helping me, help them take care of themselves so that they are able to support me.
Ron and his team at CCALS do the same for hundreds-- thousands of people who have ALS and related diseases, and their families and friends. All over the country, even extending to other countries. Keeping emotional counsel, creating space, providing physical aids (e.g., wheelchairs, lifts, chairs...), rides, check-in phone calls and visits, check-in text messages (so underrated!), old-fashioned face shaves in your house (yes, it's true!), expert advice on disability and health insurance, help in navigating the mountain of messy, chaotic and never-ending forms...The fact is, I could go on and on and on and still not capture the essence of how CCALS attends to the lives they touch.
The Latin derivation of "attend" comes from a combination to ad, meaning to, and tendere, meaning stretch...to ‘apply one's mind or energies to’. And stretch they do, with seemingly limitless energy; and yet, it is difficult to capture the gravity of what Ron and his team do. But perhaps it is the invisible...the INVISIBLE of what CCALS gives that is so transformative and of such gravitas and power...the space they create, the love they give, their ability to be present, the effort they make, the time they give...and never a judgment. Always accepting, welcoming, inviting...and always, always...loving.
I am eternally grateful for CCALS...eternally blessed.
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