Twenty years of service…just sitting with those thoughts and words fill my eyes with gentle tears. Remembering in this moment the enormous number of families we have served, the circumstances I have witnessed and the stories they have shared, is a bit staggering. As I was about to speak at our recent gala I scanned the packed house of many friends and families and was awash in those thoughts and feelings. Twenty years!
As I often do, I was thinking of Gordon Heald who passed on October 30, 1998.
I was also thinking of Gordon’s dear friend, Phil Robertson, who passed away recently. For those of you who have participated in the Falmouth Road Race, we have always gathered at the five mile mark in front of the home of Phil and his wife Anne. For all these years the Robertsons have generously given us a place to gather to cheer our runners on. Phil was the gentleman who was up on the ladder for the last 35 years or so, hosing runners down as they ran past. I mention this because it brought me to a pause, to reflect on the extraordinary winding path I have walked with families, a path filled with obstacles, uncertainties, challenges, visions, triumphs and successes.
Scanning the crowd, realizing twenty years… In that moment of pause I felt grateful for the opportunity to serve and to remember. To have been able to create an organization that enabled us to tend to and care for individuals and families, navigating the extreme and unfathomable complexities of ALS. To enhance quality of life and to explore end of life, we have become ever more familiar with this uninvited guest,
this intruder who becomes part of the larger story. Acknowledging impermanence as a reality rather than an imaginary construct is something I invite all of us to explore and something that I dance with regularly.
My staff and I give thanks for the continued faith and trust in the work and skills that we bring to the bedsides of all of our families.