Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dinner and Drinks

Two years ago this week, we had dinner with Michael and Libbi Jaillet in Washington, D.C. We had "met" the Jaillets through the Twitterverse of Steve Street, a veteran, a pALS, and a man who seemed to defy the odds when faced with ALS.

I'll always remember Steve's last tweet: I feel like a dirty diaper (at least something like that). With in a day or two, he was gone. Although we had never physically met him, it was a huge shock when he seemed to go so quickly. He was one of our first ALS Twitter friends.

Libbi and I seemed to bond quickly after that. We found ourselves in similar circumstances, and with similar mindsets. She and Michael came to D.C. to participate in the annual ALS Advocacy Day, and we jumped at the chance to meet them face to face. They had started a charity in Austin, Texas to help other ALS patients... not themselves. They would gather volunteers to do yardwork, decorate for Christmas, and many of the things that are lost in a life filled with terminal illness. They also held a large fundraiser each year to raise money for ALS research.

The dinner was the Jaillets was great. It felt like we had known each other for years, and I remember the evening like it was yesterday. You and Michael were both walking and talking easily. Michael couldn't use his right arm very much, but seemed to get on well with the left. I was helping you eat, but that was about it. We had dinner and drinks and parted with the warm and fuzzies.

It's now two years later, and you are both gone. So much has happened since then, but it still seems like yesterday. Libbi remains my most frequent contact for anything related to ALS, widowhood, sadness, an evening drink, depression, grieving, etc. I don't know how I would have made it without her. Our support group was and is mostly the people we have met digitally, and the Jaillets are the top of the list.

Their non-profit is MJ's Army. They do amazing things, and they inspired you to try to create a non-profit here to help people with terminal illness. I'll try to continue that project in your memory. Someday, Libbi and I will get together, have a few drinks and talk about all that has happened. I look forward to it greatly.

But all of this makes me wonder... how can something so wonderful come out of something so truly horrible? It is important for us all to remember to take full advantage of what we have, and never miss the opportunity to make a new friend. Thank you to the Street family, and the Jaillets for everything you have done and continue to do!

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