The ALS Association

My Dad Was Such a Family Man!

Kelly C. Ballwin, Missouri

My father was diagnosed with ALS in 1972. His name was Floyd, and he and my mom had seven kids together. The doctors gave him six months to live; however he was determined to live as long as he could to spend time with his family. He was such a family man! He lived another six years and passed away in 1978. At first the disease started in his left arm which gradually took over his whole body to where he was confined to a wheelchair and eventually unable to move, walk or talk (at least to be able to understand him). The youngest child was only 6 years old when he died and my oldest sister was 18 years old. Although I was only 9 years old at the time of his passing, I do have some fond memories of him. He was always smiling because he was just always happy. He was happy to at least have the time that he had left to spend with his kids and his wife. No regrets. My mom and he had such a special relationship that I really believe she would have taken care of him forever. One thing he wanted to do before passing away was to see as much of the world as he could. So...with seven kids in tow and an ailing husband, we would all pack in our family station wagon and traveled to California, New York, The Grand Canyon, and even just camping. I remember always wanting to be with my Dad. When his speech started to go and I would ask him questions or just want to talk to him, I would have to sometimes go through the alphabet to get the word he was trying to say. We had an above the ground pool in our back yard, and my Uncle designed an apparatus where my Dad would sit in this seat; there was a rope or a crank or something that would lift him up and set him in the water. Not sure how my Mom did it all those years, taking care of an ailing husband and seven kids with very little help, but she is a very strong person. I often wonder what my Dad would be like today only if he wouldn’t have fallen ill to ALS, but at least I have some good memories of him.

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