The Greatest Reward: Leaving A Career With IBM To Become His Family’s Caregiver
Posted by GreaterGoodness
Alex and Liz James were living the American Dream. The young couple were the proud parents of twin boys, Matt and Will, and Alex, a Harvard graduate, had a career with IBM. Then came the devastating news that would change the family forever; Liz had multiple sclerosis and both boys had muscular dystrophy. What Alex decided to do next may seem extraordinary to some, but he decided it was the only thing he could do; he quit his job at IBM to become a occupational therapist and care for his family. In Miss Open, Alex shared the story of how the couple met at IBM in 1981. She was working as a receptionist and Alex was in sales. After building his courage up for weeks, Alex asked the pretty receptionist out on a date and the two married four years later. In 1990, Liz became pregnant with the twins and life couldn’t be happier for the young couple.
Less than a year after the twins arrived, Liz began experiencing vision and balance problems and was soon diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The disease is degenerative, and the couple knew her health would continue to decline throughout her life. A short time after Liz’s diagnosis, the James family was devastated to discover that both Matt and Will had muscular dystrophy.
Alex told Woman’s Day that, not long after the boys were diagnosed, he made a decision to redirect his life toward caring for his family: “I knew I was all in and I just decided then and there I would do the best I could and not with clenched fists and teeth, I would relax and do all I could.”
Alex left IBM and went back to school to become an occupational therapist to care for his family full time. With the help of nurses and friends, the James family now leads a happy and engaged life. Alex makes sure the family gets out three to four times a week. They attend wrestling matches and basketball games and spend family evenings listening to ’70s rock.
Alex’s decision may seem like a sacrifice to some, but he explains that it was just the normal thing to do caring for the people he loves most. According to The House of Love, the twins, who were not expected to make it through their teens, are now 25 and spend their time on movie and tennis dates with their loving network of friends. Despite the terrible diagnoses, the James household is filled with love and joy, and it’s infectious.
In many ways, our lives are defined by the good we do for others. Tell us about the people in your life who put others above themselves in the comments.