Thursday, September 04, 2014
No words to describe...
There are times when the only way you can describe how you feel is by describing an experience and if the person you're talking to hasn't had that experience, they can't completely understand.
For example, it's hard to explain the way your stomach flips when you're on the tilt-a-whirl unless you've ridden on a tilt-a-whirl. Describing the pain and pure joy of giving birth is possible with words, but really only understood completely by those who have given birth (and even then there are a variety of birthing "war stories" that only certain mothers will identify with.) Pride at watching your child perform, giddy infatuation of a secret love, fear while waiting for the results of a biopsy... these are all feelings that those of us who like to write try to capture in words, but the words are imperfect, no matter how many times we consult the thesaurus. We know that the only people who will truly "get it" are those who have had a similar experience.
Another feeling that very few people really understand is what it's like to love someone who is dying from ALS. Most people haven't had that experience. And though I won't try and describe that feeling in this blog post, I'll tell you that my emotions are hyper-sensitive when it comes to anything ALS-related. So whenever I get any donation or any support for my current fund-raising effort, I feel more than grateful. I feel moved. I feel the same type of comfort you get when someone consoles you after a death. Again...another feeling that's hard to describe unless you've experienced grief.
Today I saw my donation thermometer on my Walk to Defeat ALS page go up by $1100 with a single donation. That's right. I received a donation for $1100 from someone I barely know. And it's not the first time. A few months ago, I was surprised by a $1000 donation from this same "angel." That's $2100 for ALS from a virtual stranger.
What do you say when something like that happens? Most people would think... Um.. How about, 'Thank you!'? Or, maybe they would tell me: 'That's gratitude you're feeling.' But it's more than gratitude. It's wonderment. It's awe that someone could be that generous.
I think the best way to describe how I felt today is the scene in "When the Grinch Stole Christmas" when the Grinch's heart grows 3 sizes bigger and breaks out of its mold. It's that same kind of admiration I felt when I was around Craig -- a man crippled and unable to speak -- yet still with a twinkle in his eye, a mischievous grin on his face, and ready to play.
That huge admiration I had for Craig is one of the reasons it was so hard for me to watch him die. The world was losing this unique and wonderful man and there was nothing I could do about it. And then today, a unique and wonderful man did something incredible... and I got that same indescribable feeling of admiration.
That feeling -- that feeling that makes tears come to my eyes -- that feeling of gratitude that the world has such good people -- that feeling of hope that a cure for ALS is not far off -- that is the feeling that I can't describe. That is the feeling that there are no words for... that feeling requires a response that means so much more than 'Thank you.' Why doesn't the English language have some kind of 'Extreme Thank You' word?
So I offer up this blog post, not just to that generous donor, but to every person who has supported me on this journey. I still have 9 days left and have a few Ice Bucket Challenges left in me, as well as a grand finale video, so I'm hoping to reach my $12,000 goal. But whether or not I make my goal, I am grateful for every dollar, ever "share," every word of encouragement, and every silly video that has been made in support of finding a cure for ALS. I am more grateful than I can possibly describe.