“272” She said with a smile.
“Too easy”, I thought. “53 times 26”.
“1378”. A second or two later my brain caught up to hers with the same answer.
That smile and that mental acuity, along with a surprisingly delicious cafeteria poutine, made my trips to visit the hospital to visit my grandmother seem like just another pleasant course of life. Sure, I had seen her talented hands go from cooking delicious meals to gripping strongly a walker, veins and sinews ripping through her flesh in an agony that belied the graceful movements that it had always been used to. Sure, the evidence was there. Yet her strength didn’t allow a realization of the nature of her torment to ever form in my mind.
She was the matriarch of the family; my dad, his siblings, and their spouses had made their way to Montreal over the years. My grandfather, her husband, had passed before I was born. I was the first born child of the family, and there still were no others. My grandmother and I shared a bridge across generations, for those early years in my life.
“Why is this happening to her?” I remember asking a few times. “Multiple Sclerosis”. I would repeat that term and mash the words, some label that was daunting enough in pronunciation to imply that it had some irrefutable meaning. I knew nothing of Multiple Sclerosis and its crippling effects on the body and the mind. I knew nothing of the superhuman strength of will she must have possessed to always wear a smile when I was there.
So I may ask myself today, why did this happen to her? Why did this need to happen to her? Or to anyone? We as humans have pushed the historic boundaries of our lifespans, yet cruel time often exacts its revenge in deaths rife with suffering. Disease and illnesses methodically ravage the last vestiges of oneself carried treasured into those later years. But still.. why?
Why does this need to happen to anyone ever again? It doesn’t. Our monetary contributions have made tangible differences in alleviating the suffering that comes with MS, Cancer, and many other diseases. The quality of life for those being otherwise tormented has been greatly improved. And the only way it will ever get any better is if we keep working together.
So we ride. We ride for her, we ride for each other, we ride for the children yet born that will one day inherit a better earth for our devoted stewardship. And I am confident that while today we speak in terms of easing, tomorrow we will speak in terms of erasing.
CRM Science is partnering with Salesforce and Friends to fight MS through a charity bike ride, Waves To Wine, this September, both by riding, and by sponsoring (4) dollar-for-dollar donation matching campaigns. Any money raised by riders, starting Sunday 5/15, will automatically be matched until we exhaust $5,000 provided for this challenge by CRM Science. For more information about our CRM Science team that will be joining Salesforce and Friends please click here.