"Never forget the love the two of you have, even when things get really hard. You were a team from the start and will stay that way. " - Alice Worden
Don Worden is the pastor at First Baptist Church of Pompano Beach, and has been married to Alice for 42 years. The two met in high school and had two classes together, biology and yearbook. On one yearbook trip to New York, they both saw snow for the first time.
Three years after graduation, a letter showed up at Don's home regarding a price increase on boat insurance. Alice's name was at the bottom of that letter, and Don went to negotiate the price. Alice didn't give him a better insurance rate, but she did agree to go water skiing with him. Years later, they have two grown children and five grandchildren. They've worked together, volunteered together, and built a lifetime of wonderful memories.
Don was diagnosed with ALS two years ago, and Alice was devastated but remained strong. Don was serving as a pastor full time and Alice was running the family's custom framing business. The family business was started by Don's father in 1958, and Don worked there for the majority of his life until 15 years ago when he began his ministry. A year after the diagnosis, they made the hard decision to close the business in February 2020. Now Alice helps Don do the things that ALS has made difficult.
Alice has been to every doctor's appointment, lifts Don out of his chair and gets him in the wheelchair, cuts his food and dresses him.
"Alice has been right by my side through it all. We've worked together as a team for a long time, long before my ALS diagnosis, and we still do." - Don Worden
When asked what advice they'd give other married couples facing ALS, Don said "Be together. Have fun together. Laugh together. We just enjoy being together...the little things, the holding hands and snuggling at night." He recommends enjoying the moments of everyday life, like watching TV together and learning to enjoy the shows your spouse loves just to be happy in each other's company. They love to spend time with their children and grandchildren.
"Recognize the things and people in your life that you can be thankful for. I’m thankful for my wife especially, for her care and her love." - Don
Alice's advice is to show and tell your spouse how much you love them on a continual basis. Remember the good times and remind your spouse of special things they have said or done that have meant a lot to you. Meet each other's needs; have fun together; laughing makes things so much better.
"Remember to not let ALS define your whole marriage." - Alice