I Thank My Multiple Sclerosis for the Legacy I’m Leaving for My Children
I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on July 22, 2008.
You can forget many things in life, but not when you find out you have an incurable disease. It was in a white office, and I remember it felt like someone kicked me in the stomach, and then I immediately had the urge to defend myself.
I began hitting back with questions. “How do I fight this? Can it be controlled? What can I do to get better?” Tears didn’t run down my cheeks, and I remember only a bit of anger running through me. My doctor was surprised. Apparently, he hadn’t seen that many people react the way I did right away.
Truth be told, I surprised myself, too. I found out that day I was stronger than I thought.
I began to follow my neurologist’s instructions and took better care of my health. I told myself I was going to give this condition the battle of a lifetime by eating healthy and nurturing my body. No more canned food or processed meats, no more saturated fats, no more preservatives and chemicals. I slept better, and I exercised. It worked. I felt much better.
But two months later, I received news that I was pregnant with my first child. I finally felt afraid for the first time. I had no idea how my disease was going to play a part in my pregnancy. However, I was determined to fight even harder. The next year I gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby girl, and one year after that, I also gave birth to my handsome son.
I was so busy with a toddler and a baby that I hardly had time to worry. But as children grow and become more independent, I began to have time to pick up where I left behind. But I’m only human, so sometimes I would feel uncertain or depressed.
I know our lives have no warranties. I know we can’t control the future, but a part of me was seeking reassurance. How could my essence live on for my children if …
As a New Year’s resolution last year, I decided to write letters to my little ones in case I would leave this earth for any reason. I wasn’t ready to go and have my voice vanish forever. I realized it was very important for me to let my kids know how magical they made my life in the most ordinary of circumstances, so I began a project of writing to them. As a result, the world around me was enhanced, and I saw rich colors and beauty all around me, and my words would not just flow, they would gush out of my pencils and pens to create the loveliest verses.
I found delight in carpools, bathing my children, dinner. I observed simple family moments, and they were all filled with wisdom and important teachings to capture.
I thought of leaving behind a sort of manual for a good and honorable life. A document for my son and daughter to turn to for comfort and guidance.
I wrote to them about cultivating the qualities of humility and kindness, wisdom and courage — all the ingredients for a successful and happy life.
I compiled the letters and added my own artwork: fresh and colorful paintings. My sister, Jadyn, is a graphic designer, and she put it all together in a stylish petite book to lure them to read (and not be scared or bored.)
I liked the results so much that I decided to share them with others in the hope they would appreciate these everyday adventures and maybe think about writing letters to their loved ones as well. We are not eternal, but our sentiments can live on through paper and hard drives.
My MS is under control now, but still, it’s an unpredictable autoimmune disease, and you never know how it’s going to creep up on you. So I stay vigilant and grounded to the present. I stay mesmerized by wonderful people and my amazing surroundings.
I thank my MS every day for giving me the generous gift of awareness and power of voice, so I can leave my essence to my family, friends and generations to come.