Losing a Parent to ALS

"I went through this loss; I went through this really terrible, faith trying time. But God is so good and redemptive that He would use our stories to help other people."

- Amanda

Amanda’s dad was busy with all the usual activities and responsibility that come with raising a family.  Little by little though, he noticed something was wrong. He had trouble buttoning his shirt and even lost his footing and fell. Visits to the doctor were frustrating because he was getting weaker and weaker and they couldn’t figure out what was happening. Eventually, he went to University of Michigan and was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), a progressive, incurable condition that causes profound muscle weakness.

Watching her strong, independent father become dependent and progress to using a wheelchair was hard for Amanda and her family. Eventually, his breathing became difficult and required a tracheostomy causing difficulty with communication. She found it was hard to be around him because she felt so sad and didn’t know what to do.  Amanda honestly admits there were times she questioned God’s faithfulness.  She would ask God, “why my father?” and “why me?”

Amanda’s parents were Christians and stayed faithful.  Despite his death, Amanda can see God’s hand at work in her life and knows that someday she will see her dad again in heaven.

If you have experienced the death of a loved one, here are some thoughts to consider: 
  • Talk to God: He can handle your emotions. Even if you don’t know how to pray, just keep talking to God.
  • Be honest and open: Let others know how you’re feeling. It’s okay to accept help.
  • Share your story: People who have experienced the loss of a loved one may have feelings of anger, depression, or isolation. If you have experienced a loss like this, we encourage you to share your story. There is someone who needs to hear it!
Words to Live By:


“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV).


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”  Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV).


Dr. Ron’s Perspective:

One moment life can be rolling along smoothly and suddenly, a painful life event occurs. It catches you off guard and shakes the foundation of your world. Anxiety, fear and depression are common emotional reactions. You might experience sleepless nights and a prevailing sense that life will never be the same.  This can also be a time of uncertainty and insecurity. You may wonder, “Why me? Why now? What does the future hold?” This can be a powerful opportunity where one’s faith can be challenged and the purpose of life contemplated, perhaps for the very first time. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of your life, strengthening your faith by putting your trust in God. Talk to him, the One who already understands your fear and wants to comfort you. He is waiting and ready to listen. You are never truly alone!


Grace Notes by Philip Yancey

“I believe in the resurrection primarily because I have gotten to know God.  I know that God is love, and I also know that we human beings want to keep alive those whom we love. I do not let my friends die; they live on in my memory and my heart long after I have stopped seeing them” (113).


Recommended Resources:

The Problem of Pain   -C.S. Lewis
The Gift of Pain  -Philip Yancey
The Reason for God   -Tim Keller

ALS Association

Real People, Real Stories, Real God®
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Losing a Parent to ALS