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Sarah Lysne: The joy of living with grace

People tell me I’ve handled my ALS diagnosis with grace.  If I have, It’s only because I have had many role models throughout my lifetime.

I have watched these people handle challenges and adversity in their lives with dignity and grace. When they experienced loss and disappointment in life, they carried on without complaining or holding grudges.

The following quote is a good reminder of what is important in life.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -— Maya Angelou

Many years ago my late father-in law, Harlan said, “I think that the biggest fear people have is that someday they will be forgotten.’’ Well, I have never forgotten him. He was a wonderful grandpa, and father-in-law, but that idea that he had, did stick with me for many years.

The obsessive fear of being forgotten controlled my actions. I thought I had to make a name for myself in some other way besides being a mom and a wife. I started writing for the Post Bulletin newspaper. I had a column, and I wrote articles.

I sent articles to magazines and other publications in hopes of becoming famous.  I never did become famous, and the articles I wrote for the Post Bulletin were fun, but they took a lot of time, sometimes too much time.  Also, being a reporter was difficult with a family, especially when the stories and the deadlines were due on a weekend.

One day it occurred to me that we don’t have to be famous to be remembered. The only thing that we really have to do is to love and to be loved. That is the greatest gift that we can ever hope to be given in this world.

So here’s what I am obsessed with. I’m obsessed with trying to live a life with no regrets. I’m obsessed with making people realize how special they are. I’m obsessed with enjoying each day, the best I can, even with its imperfections.  I’m obsessed with appreciating the gift of my life.

I will keep trying to stop the progression of the disease, but I will do everything I can to live gracefully with the disease.

May is ALS Awareness Month. Visit the ALS Association website (www.als.org/) for more information.