Here's a picture of an historic milestone marker in Ireland! I was just reading a list of the most important milestones in a person's life. The list included:
Leaving your childhood home.
Getting your first pay slip.
Gaining self-awareness and independence
Realizing your parents are real people!
Travel and experiencing a different culture
Dealing with the death of a loved one
Failing and surviving disappointment
As I look at the list I realize that the two exciting milestones that happened to me this month aren't on the list!
#1 I'm a Grandfather!
On November 6, 2021 Hannah gave birth to Mason Eric Schmitt. He's a healthy boy and the birthing process didn't have any complications. All is good! This makes me a Grandfather. WooHoo!! Seems like just yesterday when Hannah and Deagan were born, although they were born in 1994 and 1995 respectively. Time flies!
I always viewed Grandfathers as being "old men". So now I, myself, am an OLD MAN! (Although I don't have any grey hair yet!) And that makes my mother a REALLY OLD LADY as she is now a great-grandmother. Mom is turning 90 on Christmas Day this year! The four-generation picture is very special to me!
#2 Formal Retirement Party from Welch LLP
My fellow partner, Don Scott, and I are retiring at the end of December 2021, so the partners hosted a lovely dinner for us at the Rideau Club on Wednesday evening. Bryden McMaster, who is a new partner at Welch that is taking over some of my clients, prepared a lovely speech to thank me for my 42 years of service. I got to say a few words as well and told everyone that the best thing that happened at Welch was meeting my wife Cathy! She was the assistant controller for one of my audit clients and as I was working through the audit with her, we started dating, got married, and things have gone well ever since! Except that I had to give up that client because of a conflict of interest! But that's what freed up some time in my calendar to take on the role of GST/HST consultant at Welch. I've spent 30+ years teaching other accountants and helping our clients figure out this 13% tax.
It was three years ago when I decided I would retire at the end of 2021. I had no idea about ALS at that point. I feel that God was working things out well so that my transition away from Welch wouldn't be as burdensome as it could have been if I hadn't planned on retiring this year.
Over the past five weeks I've had a series of appointments with the ALS Clinic located at the Rehab Centre at the General campus of the Ottawa Hospital. I've met with a physiatrist; a respirologist; a physiotherapist; an occupational therapist; a speech-language Pathologist; a clinical dietitian and a social worker and nurse coordinator. They are a great team and are getting me set up with the "tools" I need to move forward with this disease. My lung capacity was measured as being 67% of normal capacity. I just had a BPAP machine delivered to my house that is supposed to help me breathe better when I sleep. I've also been encouraged to bump up my calorie intake by about 1,000 more calories per day. Apparently I can have a bowl of ice-cream every night before I go to bed! Next week I have an appointment with the primary neurologist to talk about clinical trials that may be available to me. We will also talk about the two drugs that are currently approved by Health Canada that may extend life expectancy by a few months.
There is no doubt that becoming a grandfather and retiring from a company I've worked for since I was 19 years old are major milestones in my life. The big milestone I wish I could predict was how many days do I have left on this earth?! Statistically speaking, it could be a year or two if the ALS progresses as it normally does. But, if it's God's will, it could be thirty or forty more years on this earth! The biggest thing that I've learned from God over the past few months is that He just wants me to be resting in his arms, knowing that I can turn this battle over to Him and He will fight it. And God wants me to focus on sharing the "Good News of Jesus" with everyone I meet!
In the end, the biggest milestone in my entire life was when I recognized that I was a "broken" and "bad" human being, and without the grace of Jesus, my life after death wouldn't be very pleasant. But when I turned my life over to Jesus, He became my saviour and I can rejoice about spending eternity with Him in Heaven! And that salvation is available to you too!! Jesus died for you -- you just have to acknowledge this gift and allow the Holy Spirit to redirect the rest of your life. If you want to talk about that one-on-one, feel free to call me or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
An updated prayer list can be found on the home page of the website. Thank you, so much, for your continued prayer!
With much love, Garth.
The Lord is my strength and my shield.
My heart trusted him, so I received help.
My heart is triumphant; I give thanks to him with my song.