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Let’s Talk About It

February 2, 2020 - the night Dora died. It was cold as I followed the funeral home director and her cousin down the front walk. We were under the watchful eye of her sycamore tree, her magnolia tree,her daffodils. The yard was still and quiet as they loaded Dora’s body into the hearse. Then just like that, I was alone. 

The quiet pressed against my ears as I walked back to the house.  Broken hearted and empty. l latched the screen door that she built from recycled wood. I entered the living room, a narrative of the past seventy-six days -blankets, feeding tube machine, cane, bedside commode. A royal blue vase filled with bright yellow daffodils sat on a second hand table. Red heart Valentine lights hung from the mantel 

Suddenly, I was responsible for it all. Her life, her death, her ALS diagnosis.She died seventy-six days after diagnosis - what had I done wrong? Seeking mental health assistance was nowhere on my list.I didn’t know it was available to me. I didn’t know what to do.

Shortly, ater Dora’s death, I joined I AM ALS, a community led organization revolutionizing ALS advocacy. At, I AM ALS, I served on several teams including the Many Shades of ALS team which formed as part of I AM ALS’ diversity and inclusion initiative. Many Shades of ALS focuses on the physical, social and mental health of people of color impacted by ALS. The team’s first action was to establish the Let’s Talk About It mental health series. This series addresses topics like suicidal ideation, accessible travel and the role of culture and religion after an ALS diagnsis. 

The next Let’s Talk About It is Monday August 7, 2023 at 6pm EST. Join us as panelists discuss coping with ALS progression and loss of independence.  Click the link to register.

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