It was four years ago this week that my beloved husband, Michel, left us, taken by ALS at the age of 49, barely two years after his diagnosis. Four years to process the shock, become accustomed to his absence, and build a place for our memories.
But something good came out of this terrible misfortune, nonetheless: the unwavering and salutary friendships that have become so precious to me.
The first time we met Marc and Élyse, another Sainte-Julie couple living with ALS, we immediately clicked. Our children were about the same age, and so were we. Above all, we were all going through the same ordeal.
Gradually, as we met other families at activities organized by the ALS Society of Quebec, our little group of friends grew. Soon we were planning outings, barbecues, brunches and dinners.
Each time we met, we didn’t need words to understand each other. It did us a world of good to laugh together, support each other and give advice. And to cry now and then without judgement.
Michel was the first to go. Robert followed, and then Stéphane, Patrick, Marc and Bruno.
But we girls continued to meet. And today, several of us are involved in various ALS Society activities, such as coffee get togethers, mentoring at support groups, walks and fundraisers. My friend Élyse recently joined the board of directors.
I’m incredibly lucky to have met these women, and I hope everyone with ALS and their loved ones have the chance to know people like them.
All these connections are possible thanks to the ALS Society of Quebec’s programs and donations from people like you. We make up a community where humour, empathy and solidarity abound, despite the disease.
Michel left us four years ago. But these beautiful friendships have helped me keep his memory alive.
Breaking the ice also means creating opportunities to connect!
the ALS Society of Quebec can organize activities that provide essential psychological support to people touched by ALS. They help fight isolation throughout the illness and after a loved one’s death. They also offer a breather and provide many contexts for mutual support:
- Discussion and support groups
- Activities and adapted outings
- Thematic workshops
- Family match-up service
- Regional meetings
- Bereavement support evenings