independent

Friday 19 July 2019

Eugene: It's a chance to be grateful

Eugene Loftus feels that his journey with Motor Neuron Disease has given him the chance to appreciate life and everything he has.

There have, of course, been difficult moments for Eugene and his wife Marie, but they are finding ways to come to terms with it.

"I'm coming to terms with things, you're talking about end of life. You go through all of that, especially when you think so much about what you have and so much about life and the world. You get resigned to it. It happens over a period. I've had very emotional periods. I've done a lot of crying, we both have."

Although Marie admits that at times she's put on a brave face, she now knows that there is nothing wrong with showing her emotions.

"There were weeks when we'd cry everyday. I would have put a brave face on and Eugene would be going through what he's going through and I realised after a while that we have to cry together."

Eugene loved running his farm, which has been taken over by their son Shane. The couple recently became grandparents for the first time, their granddaughter is the apple of their eye.

He is ever so grateful for everything he has in life, but he is also grateful that he has been given the opportunity to appreciate everything.

It doesn't always have to be doom and gloom.

"For me, I've been so lucky. In having the life I've had, and will have. I appreciate my appreciations. It's caused one to consider what you have and haven't got, and what you are in the present circumstances. Marie is one thing, I haven't got the words to describe how important Marie is to me. I always knew what she was made of but she's gone beyond the beyonds along with Shane our son and his wife Karen and our new granddaughter."

And while Eugene perhaps got to grips with reality quickly, it took Marie that bit longer to really accept that her husband had been diagnosed with this awful illness.

"Eugene realised it very quickly because of the scientific side of it. For me, what I found was that initially it hit me. And then I thought 'oh no we're going for a second opinion and it will be sorted out'.

"We had various research students come in and written across the survey paper was 'Beamont Hospital, Motor Neuron Disease' and I read all of it but I didn't take it in. It didn't go in for a quite a while. Until one day we were talking to friends about it and Eugene said 'I've come to accept it' and I was like 'what are you talking about?'.

"I knew it, but it just didn't register. It was like protection. As time goes on it hits you every so often. As things change, you're grieving a loss as it's happening. We were in the car one day and Eugene looked at the garden and said 'I miss doing the gardening'." Eugene added: "Saying that is like admitting it to yourself. There was an awful lot of things like that. I always had the feeling, and still do, that this will stop."

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