March is MS Awareness Month and all month, I’ve been mulling over what to write. MS has been a huge part of my family’s life for as long as I can remember, but yet how was I supposed to tell people about a disease that no matter how much it was explained, never made sense to me why people get it or how it works. And how could I tell about the struggle it brings to those it inflicts? Are there even words for that?
So instead, I will tell about the woman that made me aware of MS: my mom.
When she was diagnosed, I was very young. I barely remember what she was like before MS took ahold of her. But I remember the day she told my sister and I that she would never be the same again. We all huddled in the kitchen crying. The following months consisted of wheelchairs, job loss, tears, prayers, and cries to heaven that this cup would be taken from her. I watched her be stripped of everything she held so dear: her career in nursing, her mobility, her income, her independence. Our whole family and our good friends grieved the loss she was facing.
It would have been easy for her to stay in a state of mourning. No one would have blamed her if she hopped on the pity train and never got off. But that’s not my mom. She realized her healing wasn’t coming anytime soon. She realized God was hurting right along with her, but He was more interested in the spiritual healing that would come of this physical wound. She was dealt this hand of cards, as crappy as it was, and she’s not the type to fold.
So she began playing to the best of her ability. She dove head first into her children that were still living at home. She home schooled my sister and I through highschool and helped us each excell in our work. When her grandchildren were born, though she was plagued by exhaustion and weakness, she was there and helped every bit she could and shined as a light into their lives.
She was sure that by the time I graduated that her healing would come. She knew she was called to teach us and MS helped her slow down enough to do it. But my graduation passed by and the healing still didn’t come. She again was frustrated but drew strength from the belief that a purpose for her through this disease still remained.
She started an MS support group and became an MS advocate. She encourages and educates those fighting this same battle. She has deep compassion for the struggle others face in MS, but she empowers them not to remain in the struggle but to overcome it.
Her resilience shines as a beacon to others. Her faith inspires others to cultivate their own belief in God. Her strength has made her a role model to many.
Just today she told me, “do I want to have MS? No. But if I had the opportunity not to have it, but I’d to be the person I was before MS, I’d take MS.” What strength is that to take physical aliment over spiritual aliment!
This is the awareness MS needs. The people that fight it daily truly are some of the bravest warriors on the earth, and the best fighter I know, I get to call “Mom.”