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My brother in law Eric has ALS.
Now – I’ve put this in writing.
Much as I hate it, there it is.
Everyone in our family is trying to wrap our heads around it.
Acceptance with something so shattering is hard.
Beyond words, beyond anything.
Eric is only 47, how can this be happening?

The men in my husbands’ family are Norwegian- generally quiet, friendly, un-showy people.
Except my brother in law Eric.
Eric has always been strong spirited and opinionated.
The center of attention.
Never afraid to show his feelings or speak out.
Brett and his father Bob, are more alike in the way they operate- a kind of fly under the radar approach.
Never very demonstrative, or loud.
Simple and kind.

The three Vartdal men have been close as any father, son, brother trio can be.
Eric, usually in the spot light, Brett & Bob completing the triangle.
All equal sides complimenting one another, holding each other up.
Now that ALS has started to really effect Eric, I am humbled at the way these men show they care.
Their love language is not talking so much, as doing, being there, and lending a hand.
Constant, steady, quiet.
For example:
In the years I have been with my husband Brett, I’ve heard the story of his mango poisoning many times.
He is extremely allergic to the sap of a mango tree.
He learned this only after doing quite an impression of the Elephant Man.
It was awful!
So afraid of suffering again, Brett has been paranoid of mangoes.
Just having them in our house makes him nervous.
It’s a major operation when I actually get a mango, and Brett prefers I eat them when he is not even around.
I have to promise to be very, VERY careful and clean up every last bit before he comes home.

Ironically, one of Eric’s passions has always been growing fruit.
Mangoes, of course, are his favorite.
The mangoes from Eric’s trees are a slice of heaven here on earth. I tell you- they are creamy and sweet.
Simply amazing.
So worth the effort & clean up!

Now that Eric cannot do it himself, and it’s prime season-
Brett goes over almost daily, and picks mangoes for his brother.
(with bags on his hands)
He even brought some home for me to eat.

Love language.

Bob, Eric and Brett used to fish & golf together, they have had to make adjustments.
Now they watch fishing and golf together, on TV.
Weekly, and as much as they can.
Time is precious.

Tonight as the three left our house, I looked out the window and saw how, without a word, Bob walked ahead of Eric, checking to be sure his footing was solid. Brett walked behind, a hand out hovering near his back, to catch him should he fall.
And I am humbled again at the power of quiet love.
If you are a Vartdal, you certainly don’t have to scream to be heard.
Their love language is loud and clear.

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