“What if this is our last Christmas together?” If someone in your family has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, this stomach-dropping, breath-stealing question has likely crossed your mind. I remember the first time it struck me.
Carrey, a wife and mom with ALS, originally shared this post here on August 4th.
On this day 15 years ago, Eric and I vowed to unite as one. We joined at the altar in a small, white, Little-House-on-the-Prairie-type chapel. We stood side by side, no bridesmaids or groomsmen, no fancy flowers, no fancy musicians. My dad did all the readings, Eric's dad officiated the ceremony, and we filled the little chapel with our family and closest friends. Having Eric by my side made it a real dream wedding. As we stood at the altar and shared our vows, it would take almost 15 years to fully understand the commitment he made to me.
Carrey and Eric in 2001
"I will love you forever, and under all circumstances. I will stand by your side always. I will have faith in you and encourage you in everything you do. I will be here to listen to you, to laugh with you, and to hold you. I will strive every day to make our relationship stronger. I will love you, honor you, respect you, encourage you, and cherish you, in health and in sickness, through sorrow and success, for all the days in my life."
What that meant was:
I will enjoy all of our friends and family with you, socializing, meeting new people, tailgating, and going to our favorite restaurant with you. I will join you as your doubles partner in tennis and snow ski down the mountain with you. I will support you leaving the work force to raise our children as you support me as my career developed. I will be the behind-the-scenes guy for all of your party planning adventures. I will support you with all your volunteer work. I will give you free reign to decorate our home just the way you want it. I will travel around the United States for all of your doctors' appointments. I will remodel our home to make it accessible for you. I will bathe you, wash your hair, and shave your legs. I will scratch your head and eyebrows every time they itch.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If they stumble, the first will lift up his friend—but woe to anyone who is alone when he falls and there is no one to help him get up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
One of the goals of Inheritance of Hope (IoH) is to connect families. Families who are grieving a life-changing diagnosis, struggling with fears, and facing new realities draw strength from each other as they share experiences and burdens. Through IoH, new friendships are often formed that offer a depth of understanding many families can’t find elsewhere.
The support that is shared is sometimes intangible and immeasurable, yet always tremendous. Sometimes, the support may be tangible yet also tremendously immeasurable, as was the case when Heather Crawford donated a wheelchair van to fellow IoH family Craig and Dana Loner.
The NYC 2015 New York City Legacy Retreat® was a spectacular success! 18 families came to New York City and made memories together, laughed together, gleaned useful insights to help their families, and were inspired to leave lasting legacies. These things, in and of themselves, are not miracles. But, there were plenty of miracles dispersed among the streets of Manhattan as these families spent 4 days there.