Not long after being awarded the job I was diagnosed with MS but my symptoms were slight and I hid them well. As i began to progress it became harder and harder to hide the fatigue and scabs from falling. My sales assistant, partner and good friend covered for me time and time again during those four years. I was a single mom and had to push through it all to keep my income. That third year I was forced to use a cane but assured my bosses that I could do my job with MS and I did.
When I got the news that I had ALS and not MS I knew that I had to retire. The doctors had given me a few years yet to live and I wanted to spend it with my girl's. My bosses understood and requested that I attend the company's year end hoopla so I could say my goodbye's to the other branches. It would be in the grand ballroom of The Hyatt Regency in San Francisco with about 500 people in attendance.
I didn't want to go because I had nothing to wear, no date and an ugly green walker (many had never seen me with it). I found a dress, grabbed a guy friend as a date and off we went. It was packed as we sat down to dinner purposely finding a spot in the back. After dinner the CEO of the company began his fiscal speech as I was finishing off my dessert. Then I froze in my seat as I heard my name.
Many in the room did not know of my new diagnosis or my retirement as my story was being revealed. My heart was racing as I slouched down in my chair not daring to look up at the many faces. The speech turned from my leaving to my accomplishments and I realized that in my short four years as an account manager I had really earned their respect.
The CEO ended his speech with how much I would be missed as everyone in the room stood up in applause. The crowd began to part, still applauding, as the CEO came down from the podium to present me with a dozen red roses. My knees were shaking as someone helped me to my feet, my face becoming beet red. I have never felt such a rush of emotion as I did that night looking into the endless sea of faces. It felt like I was receiving an Oscar as the ALS left my mind leaving me smiling from ear to ear.
When the speech ended I had a line of people wanting to say goodbye. The ALS slowly crept back in my mind as I saw the looks in their face's. I kept focused on not going into the ugly cry as people struggled and choked on their word's. The faces and hugs became a blur. My date instinctively knew what to do. He grabbed my walker and lead me to the dance floor. He parked it out of the way as we danced a slow song allowing me to catch my breath.
It was a night that I will never forget and job that I hated to leave.
The best night of course was my sunset Kauai wedding but on June 14th Tink is having a wedding celebration in blogland where you can share a wedding post. This post can be anything you want because it's in celebration of brides.