A caregiver’s love
Text and Photos by Lilly Fuentes-Joy
Claire and Luther Finley got the best Christmas gift ever when Bank of America renegotiated a deal that let the couple stay in their foreclosed house until Claire dies.
Claire has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which is a form of Lou Gehrig’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Claire requires 24-hour care, has lost the use of her hands and feet, and her speech is now fading.
Through the Greater Sacramento’s Chapter of the ALS Association’s equipment loan closet, the couple was able to get a motorized wheelchair. Like most caregivers for the terminally ill, Luther manages all the stress and conflicts that coming along with his job, but he wants Claire to die with dignity. Every day, Luther smiles and talks to Claire lovingly, prepares meals, cleans her and runs errands. His only time away is when he walks their six dogs to a eucalyptus grove while another caregiver usually watches Claire.