Chapter 42: Marriage & Family

IMG_6362.pngFrom the List of ALS Ironies

When Laurel and I met, we bonded over the fact that we’d both been English majors, loved Shakespeare especially, we both liked art and music and period piece films, enjoyed hiking and cycling the great outdoors.

Ours was a mostly quiet, comfy love, but when our son Julian was born in 1997, perhaps fittingly on Halloween, he definitely brought out our fun, adventurous, humor-loving qualities. The three of us were truly, madly, deeply happy together, and our lives quickly became what we’d eventually call a GBA, a Great Big Adventure, i.e. heaping servings of good times and good feelings, with an occasional side of hardship that, when looking back, gave the adventures dimension and texture.

Now, a GBA might bring to mind travel to far-off places, and we were indeed quite fortunate in that regard. Over the years, we visited Hawaii, Jamaica, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Italy. And yet, we could and often did have adventures closer to home — road trips all around Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia; many hours exploring the Salish Sea coast, the Chuckanut Mountains, and the Cascade Mountains, by foot, bicycle, skis, snowboard; and closer, still, in our neighborhood, even our backyard.

Here we are at Joshua Tree National Park:

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Like all families, we contended with the business of busy lives; the logistics of jobs, school, activities, keeping house, life planning…sounds exhausting, and from time to time it was, but that just means we were doing a lot of living.

And that life led us here, to Chapter 1, Julian preparing to leave the nest, the trio due to become a duo, Laurel and I getting to do us, getting to live our lives as works of art, making time to prioritize creativity.

Then my diagnosis arrived; the worst challenge we’ll ever face together, we’re closer than ever before, only with just a few more years left to be together.


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