Today is that day.
The day we dreaded.
The day that we knew would come.
Because sooner or later, this day comes for all of us.
My friend lost her papa yesterday.
He passed away after a long battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
ALS is one of those diseases that claims too many papas and too many mamas.
It is somewhat ironic that the disease is known by the name of one of the greatest baseball players to play the game given the fact that my favorite picture of my friend and her papa was taken at Busch Stadium during one of the Cardinals’ amazing runs through the baseball playoffs.
After her papa received his diagnosis, my friend waged her own private battle against ALS – organizing walks to raise money, reminding us of the ALS water bucket challenge and creating pocket sized stand-up photos of her papa for us to take to famous places all over the world.
My own papa’s heart stopped working when I was 11. He was on vacation in Lake of the Ozarks and they had to airlift him on the side of a helicopter to SLU Hospital.
My papa had a quintuple bypass back when bypasses were a relatively new thing.
Luckily for us, my papa lived. I had friends whose papas weren’t so lucky in those years and every time that I see my papa, I thank my Higher Power for the extra time that we have had with him.
My friend loved her papa completely. At the end of the day, I believe we all love our mamas and our papas completely. They may have their flaws – but they are our only mama, our only papa.
I will be thinking of my friend and her papa very much in the days to come.
If you have it in you, please say a little prayer for my friend and her papa and her mama.
And if you have some spare dollars, please consider sending a little to continue the fight against ALS.
Rest in peace, Larry. You were loved.