This finally ends my mom’s seven-year struggle with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. While this stoic and hard-scrabbled French-Canadian woman managed to put up a good fight, adjusting to her condition admirably as it progressed, the one-two punch of heart attack and a bout of pneumonia triggered a fairly rapid decline.
When I arrived that afternoon, mom opened her eyes, so I believe she knew I was there. In fact, the house was full of people, my sisters, my niece and her husband, and later on some friends. Mom was surrounded by people who loved her in her last hours.
After everyone left later that evening, I went to bed only to be awoken by Mom’s aid at about 2:45 to let me know that she didn’t sound well at all, and indeed her breathing had slowed considerably. Less than fifteen minutes later, she let go.
My sisters and I will be announcing our plans for a memorial service for Mom soon. She had informed us in no uncertain terms years ago that she did not want a wake nor did she want people to buy flowers. She asked instead that if people wanted to, that they donate to the ASPCA, and we would also ask that donations be made in her name to the ALS Association.