I had a visit from Ruth Huffman two weeks ago. I have met Ruth before on a couple of occasions socially, but that was really quite a long time ago, before the girls were born and when Amanda and I were still living in the old house and prone to going out to the occasional party.
Ruth is a very talented writer. She writes for the Advocate, which is a local monthly paper. Every month, Ruth goes around the local area and sits down with someone of interest and has a rather protracted conversation that she then turns into a piece for the paper. I think through my sister-in-law Renata, Ruth decided to come and pay me a visit about 10 days ago to chat.
Ruth dips tobacco. For anyone outside the US, just think of an old western where someone is spitting into a spittoon; that's what Ruth does, although she would spit into an old glass jar. At first, it can be unsettling, because there aren't too many women who dip tobacco, but I think it suits Ruth right down to the ground.
We had a great conversation. She was here for about two hours, and we really just tried to delve as deep as we could into my situation: my situation before ALS, my life when I was diagnosed, and my life since the diagnosis and how I've tried to live since then. It's obviously been a hectic year. More hectic than you realize until you look back on it and reflect on all the things we have done. We also spoke about the emotional side of things, the things that prey on my mind, things I worry about, and things I don't worry about. I'd love to tell you it was a nice, simple conversation, but there were at least a half dozen times when I got pretty emotional, pretty upset. To her eternal credit, Ruth put down the digital recorder and even came over and gave me a hug at one point, which I think helped me through.
In all, I think it was a really good experience. It's bizarre... it's never easy to talk about it... the hardest thing to talk about is the girls. Talking about the girls will get me quite emotional and upset, but at the same time it's like getting a bit of a weight off your shoulders. Even if it's just for a minute, or an hour, or a day... it's beneficial. In the long run, I don't think that ever means I will be okay with it, or be okay about thinking about the girls. It seems to release the pressure, if only for a moment.
So, for those who live locally, you should look out an interview in the January edition of the Advocate. For those who live overseas, I'll see if I can get a copy of the article transcribed, and we'll throw it up on the blog here before too long.