My mom, Nina Moatz, was one of the most joyous people I have ever known. She had a beautiful smile, a wonderfully positive attitude, and a fantastically infectious laugh, with her hands clapped together, head thrown back, and a twinkle in her eye. It's my favorite memory of her.
Mom was a people person. The most precious things in her life were her relationships. Her marriage to her husband of 34 years, her three children, and her friends and community were most dear to her. Her big heart and engaging personality endeared her to people in all walks of life. She loved visiting with people of all ages, but especially children and older people. It seems she was always taking care of neighbors' and friends' children and rescuing stray animals.
Mom had many interests and talents. She loved music. I grew up watching her sing in the church choir, and when I was old enough I had the privilege of singing Alto with her in that same choir. We also liked to play piano together, and even played duets at a few of my recitals. Mom passed along to me her love of reading and gardening, and even woodworking. She tried her hand at artistic endeavors too, like ceramics and toll painting. She would say she wasn't artistic, but she was patient and persistent. She taught me a lot about perseverance and hard work.
Thanks to my Dad's tireless efforts as caregiver and pretty good carpentry skills, Mom was able to live at home with Dad for the duration of her illness. In Kentucky, where my family lives, there were/are no ALS clinics, and very little exposure to, or understanding of, the symptoms and progression of ALS. Even with an earlier diagnosis, there probably wouldn't have been much assistance for my family. Mom was finally diagnosed with ALS in November of 1998. She lost her battle 3 months later. We believe that she had lived with the disease for at least 6 years.
Six months before Mom's diagnosis, I moved to Minnesota where I now live with my husband and three children. A few years later, we learned about the Minnesota chapter of the ALS Association. As soon as we got to know some of the staff and learned about the support services given to the ALS community, my husband and I knew this was something we wanted to be a part of. Since our initial involvement, we have continuously been moved and impressed by the research efforts on a national level, and the care and support services provided at the local level for families like ours who are now living with ALS.
Caring for others was at the core of who my mother was. I like to think that she would be happy that we are continuing that legacy, as we support a very special organization that gives real services and support to families living with ALS.
- Gayle Moatz Sit