I spent a large portion of the past week at work laying out a self-published book for my boss's brother, Robby, who is dying of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It's a horrific disease with no cure, that kills you in stages, robbing you of control of your body but leaving your mind intact.
Robby started writing columns for his local paper earlier this year. His disease has advanced to the point that he's barely able to move and speaks in guttural spurts that only his wife seems to be able to interpret, but he's managed to write a series of amusing, intriguing and heart-breaking columns on life, love, loss and the disease that's taking him inch by inch.
I look at Robby, at the strength and grace he brings to the final chapters of his life, and I feel so ashamed when I decide I just can't write today because my back is a little achy or that touch of arthritis in my fingers makes typing seem like too much to contemplate. Robby doesn't write for money or for recognition; he writes because he still has something to say about the world he lives in, and he wants to get it out before he's gone.
I'm going to buckle down this weekend and get some new pages done on my WIP, and maybe I'll even start plotting the next book I want to tackle. Because I can. Because I'm alive, and relatively healthy. Because of Robby.
How about you?