In August of 2014, my mother Evelyn Quimby was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis- more commonly known as ALS, or Lou Gherig’s disease. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, attacking the cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. Doctors do not know what causes ALS or why people develop it. Most people with ALS survive only 2-5 years after their first symptoms develop. There are no treatments, no cures, and no recovery. I moved across the continent from my family within two months of my mother’s diagnosis. I do not know her doctors, and I interact with her aides only a few times a year. My sister is listed on my mother’s Power of Attorney forms, but I am not. I experience my family’s life in chapters, in episodes, in sentences. I am a casual participant in the lives of the most important people in mine.