Apr 14, 2015 at 04:00 AM

The Love of a Mother; The Love of Friends

By Jos Cofio

A Mother's Prayers

On the day I told mamá I had been diagnosed with ALS, her mind immediately went to what she could do to help. Living in an assisted living community, with no financial means and afflicted with aphasia due to a series of strokes and TIAs, her options were limited. Being Catholic, she knew the one thing she could do was pray. In the early days of living with ALS, I had clearly felt the energy I received when people prayed, thought of me, or, in any way, sent energy and strength my way. I still do. I welcomed her prayers.

BeyondALS Jose Cofino
Mam and me

A Mother's Sacrifice; A Cousin's Support

A few months later, mamá called me and said she had been thinking about what else was within her power to help. She realized the financial burden we were feeling between my limited ability to work, the looming medical costs that would come our way, and the costs associated with supporting her in assisted living. She also knew that only in the last of these, could she do anything. So, she announced she would move to Mexico to live with her sisters, both older than her and with issues of their own.

True to the way she had lived most of her life having given me so many opportunities through education and other ways, mamá was willing to sacrifice her independence and the ability to see me, perhaps for the rest of her life. I was deeply touched. But, frankly, I was relieved for the financial help this would provide. Upon hearing of this idea, my cousin, Mercedes, stepped in, pointing out that it was not much of a workable plan. A better solution, she said, was for mamá to go live with her in Washington, D.C. and we set forth on working toward that goal.

The Love and Support of Friends 

The universe then intervened. As had been the case so often in the couple of years since the diagnosis, angels appeared. I was invited to deliver a talk at a wonderful senior management retreat for a company based in Seattle, Aegis Living. Eddie Poplawski, who had already done so much to support our efforts at BeyondALS, introduced us to the owners of Aegis, Dwayne and T Clark, who extended the invitation. It was incredibly humbling, especially as I found myself following, on the program, Vicente Fox, the past President of México, and Wayne Dwyer, the world renowned motivational speaker and author of over 40 books. I was batting clean-up for the day. Yikes!

BeyondALS Aegis Living Cofino
EPIC Conference Aegis Living
BeyondALS Aegis Living

The talk went well. It was during the Q&A period that someone asked how mom was doing. I shared our circumstances and the plan to move her in with my cousin, totally forgetting that the folks I was addressing were the owners and leaders of an assisted living company. Speaking honestly and frankly about our situation led to the incredibly generous offer for mom to move into the Aegis Living community in Ventura, CA. Instead of moving to the other side of the continent, she would be a 45 minute drive away. And, she would be amidst incredibly caring professionals who would look after her. My cousin called this generosity from the Clarks “a gift from God.” I agree. Mom is now a resident at Aegis Living and loving it there, already making friends and comfortably settling in.

And so, the latest video in the series created by Samantha Manalang shows this story: of a mother’s love, and the love and support of friends who step up when needed, even without being asked. When I deliver talks, I always say I am a lucky man. I think you will agree.

VIDEO: The Love of a Mother and Friends

Posted in Living With ALS.

Apr 15, 2015 Arrow1 Down Reply
Faye Wakefield

What an awesome thing this mother was willing to do. I know how she feels as my youngest son had ALS and I done everything I could to help him and his family too. I say Go Bless this precious Mother, she has a heart of gold and not all,mothers do. My son went home to be with the Lord one year ago April the 11. I miss him so much, but would not call him back for anything in this world. You see, he now completely healed now, walking, talking eating and doing all the things a whole person can do. One day I will go be with him on those streets of gold. Until then they can't find a cure soon enough to suit me. I pray it come real soon. God Bless you and your fight.

Apr 16, 2015 Arrow1 Down Reply
Fran Finney, PT

i will send you an email this afternoon DPM my computer. Kim Clennon gave me your contact info. I am a PT with extensive and intimate experience with ALS.

Apr 16, 2015 Arrow1 Down Reply

@Faye Wakefield: Thanks for your kind words. I am sorry for the loss of your son. His energy is still with you and all around us. Your strength is inspiring. Hugs.

Apr 16, 2015 Arrow1 Down Reply

@Fran Finney, PT: Thanks for reaching out.

May 08, 2015 Arrow1 Down Reply
ngel Maldonado

What a powerful,loving,and inspiring. Story.shows Just how God indeed works everything together for the good.