John Sylvester was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2010. It is a progressive disease that makes a person feel like they are a prisoner in their own body. His wife and children had time to prepare and come to grips with the fact that John would likely die, but it didn’t make it any easier.
The Couple’s Life
Before John got sick, things were great between him and Tessie. They met in 2002 when they were coaching a youth soccer team together. They were married shortly after, and Tessie gave birth to Gus, who is now six-years-old. A year later, Freddy came along. Today, his is five-years-old. John and Tessie loved their family, and they were excited for their future. All of this changed when John was diagnosed with ALS.
John’s Final Day
On the day of his death, John told his wife, Tessie, that he knew that it was time for him to die. He told Tessie that as hard as it seemed that she would be able to keep going without her soulmate. She feared her life as a single mother, but she knew that she had to be strong. Just a few hours after John told his wife that he was ready, he passed away. During John’s final days, Tessie was feeling fine. She never expected to get a call that would change her life. Just hours after her husband passed away, this woman got a call that left her trembling in shock.
Tessie was at the funeral home making her husband’s final arrangements when her phone rang. It was a call from her doctor telling her that she had cancer and her prognosis wasn’t good. She had a cancerous tumor. Her husband was gone for less than a day, and she found out that she had another battle to fight. It wasn’t herself that she was the most worried about. Her children had just lost her father. She couldn’t let them lose their only remaining parent.
Keeping a Secret
Tessie was worried about her children. Her sons were already consumed with so much pain that she decided that she would wait to tell them about her condition. She believed that they should be allowed to deal with their father’s death before they had to deal with their mother’s illness. She was just 36-years-old, and she wasn’t ready to leave her boys. Her sons couldn’t figure out why the doctors couldn’t fix their father. She knew that if she told them about her condition that it would be a terrible blow.
Her Body Betrayed Her
Tessie felt okay during most of her husband’s illness. For six years, her main focus was on helping him feel better and caring for her sons. She had a routine blood test as part of her annual physical, and the doctor discovered abnormal cells. She found out that surgery was not a possibility. The doctors told her that her cancer was adenocarcinoma and it had already spread to her liver and lymph nodes. The poor mother was shocked. Why would she get so sick so soon after losing her husband? She didn’t look sick, and she didn’t feel sick. How was it that she had such advanced cancer?
Hiding Her Illness
Tessie knew that she would lose her hair as a result of her chemo. To make things easier, she cut her hair short. She hoped that it would soften the blow when all of her hair was gone. She believed that her boys wouldn’t care that she lost her hair as long as she was there to tuck them in each night before bed.
When her sons had some time to grieve and process their pain, Tessie decided that she would tell her boys the truth. When she had to break the bad news to her boys in the past, she had her husband. Now, it was just her. She tried to hide her fear when she told her boys. She was the only breadwinner in the family now. How would she support her kids while she was sick during her chemo treatments? She had her parents and her five siblings, but she knew that it was up to her to provide a stable home for her family.
Tessie’s sons were stronger than she thought they would be. They took the news better than she expected. She was sure that her husband was there by her side in spirit and he helped his boys understand what their mother was going through.
The Community Steps In
Tessie discovered before long that she was worrying for nothing. A charity page was set up for her family online, and donations started coming in. It wasn’t long before the donations reached $300,000. Tessie was sure that her husband had a hand in this as well. Even though he is gone, she knows that her husband is watching over her.
A Bright But Unknown Future
Tessie’s future is up in the air due to her cancer. What she does know is that she won’t need to worry about taking care of her boys thanks to her community and the money they raised. She plans to fight and beat her cancer. In the meantime, she knows that her husband is watching over her and the boys. Theirs was a love that exists even in death.