I’ve always done my best thinking through writing, and the death of my younger brother Chris has given me a lot to think about. The thing is, his life had meaning, and so did his death. I write this to share just a few reflections on that meaning.
For those who don’t know the background, Chris was diagnosed three years ago with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS. This disease involves the death of the motor neurons of the nervous system, leading to gradual paralysis. It is 100% fatal. We did not know how many years Chris would have when the diagnosis came in. Turns out, it was almost three.
Chris decided early on that he wanted some good to come from his illness, so he signed up for every medical study he was eligible for. He also decided that while he might die from ALS, it was not going to define his life. Even as his legs began to give out, he made a trip to Germany to see our family there. As his fingers and voice gave out, he communicated with us via his tablet, and a tracking device that let him type via his eyes. Even as his breath started to give out, he could still nod, and smile, and speak volumes just with his eyebrows.