After I was diagnosed, I had them engraved on a brass pendant which I wear on a necklace.
Well, at least that is what I thought was engraved. Just a few moments ago, I realized that 'Vis Vires' is mis-spelled 'Vis Veres'! Which when translated to English means "would you really?" So now it means Character, Dignity and Would you really?
Therefore, my new mantra is Character-Dignity-Would you really? This is the way that I have chosen to live my life for the last ten minutes (In ALS time that is an eternity). So forget dignity through character and strength. From now on, life is about showing dignity through character and self lampooning.
I had a serious post ready to go when I noticed my mistake. I will save that for another time. I want to talk about a few humorous moments that have occurred since last summer instead.
A few weeks after, we were visiting my Mother in law. I was sitting on the right hand side of the couch when my son asked me to get him a piece of candy out of the bowl on the table next to me. I easily could have grabbed one with my left hand but chose to make him wait for five minutes while my hand flailed about trying to grab that piece of candy. All the while, we were busting up laughing. It sounds a bit sad but I knew then that he was going to be able to cope with this. Another time, I was grumbling at him about something he was doing when he pipes up with a doosy. With a straight face he says "Dad, you should really watch what you say to me now because when you are paralyzed I will be able to flick you in the nuts!" I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time. Note to Alex, I know where you sleep!
With my daughter I take the Martyr approach. I will ask her to do something that I cannot physically do anymore for myself anymore without giving her any time to actually do it. I will start walking over to wherever it is saying 'Oh well, I guess I will have to do it myself!' In a martyrd tone of voice knowing full well that I am going to hear "DAD!" in her irritated shrill. This morning she helped to buckle me into my car seat but left my arms trapped under the lap belt. I say, 'So this is what I can expect from now on?' In a mock hurt tone! The "DAD!" shrill again until she looks at my devilish grin and realizes I am playing with her. My kids are most precious me and I hope that they take one thing from this ordeal, that it is ok to laugh at life, particularly when times are tough.
With friends, I have played the 'Oh sure, pick on the handicapped guy on more than a few occasions. Or the 'This just may be my last (insert holiday here) in a joking tone. Always getting the response "Oh great, playing that card are we?" Accompanied by laughter.
I have always been the clown. At times my humor may seem inappropriate but it is an excellent coping mechanism and besides it makes me feel alive. So I will continue to live the mantra,
'Virtus, Dignitus, Vis Vires' with the addition 'Vis Veres.' I will also continue to wear the pendant proudly. Because if I take life too seriously it will kill me, ALS or not!