Happy Monday! Today my mom wrote a post about how MS has affected her and the view of the disease through her eyes. I'm so fortunate that she agreed to write this post and was so strong to share her thoughts with us.
I have experienced a loss. My family experienced a loss. Our community experienced a loss. My father experienced the ultimate loss. Multiple Sclerosis is responsible for every one of these losses.
First, by having his mobility taken away a little bit at a time, my father wasn’t able to continue to do the things that made him who he was every day. He lost his “person”. It’s what makes everyone of us the individual that we are today. He worked with his hands on everything. He was a mobile person, always in motion.
Dad’s day job was a Fork-Lift driver at a wood mill. I remember riding with him on the Fork-lift sometimes after school when I would catch a ride home with him. He was impressive to watch. The Fork-Lift would almost glide across the lot, maybe he was showing off just for me but I thought he was pretty cool. The smell of the wood mill is something you never forget. Whenever I pass by a fresh-cut woodlot or a wood mill (not many left) I always have the memory flash of hanging out at Dad’s work.
He wasn’t much of a reader, unless you count the tool catalogs that he would scour for the next best thing that he would use in the garage. He also was the original Uncle Henry’s shopper (think before Craigslist). Every Sunday morning was spent listening to the “swap shop” on a local radio station where people would call in with things for sale. I don’t even remember if he ever bought anything or not but he sure did like the thrill of the “hunt”. I can identify with this and find myself scouring E-Bay for bargains.
My dad was a driving fiend. He loved to drive anytime, anywhere. He wasn’t the biggest fan of the Interstate or big cities though. My childhood is filled with memories of Sunday drives, camping trips, and outings throughout New England. He liked to explore and experience new places. Especially if food was involved, he liked to eat out (but who doesn’t).
As we get older, we have to make changes to our daily routines because physical limitations make us adjust to where we are today. However, when MS decides when you are going to have to make these changes it is frustrating to the person.
I know my dad was frustrated when he first started having walking issues but I don’t really remember a time when he curled up in a ball and stopped fighting. It would have been so easy to just stop doing things but he continued to fight.
At first, using a cane to help him get around and gradually moving into a wheelchair but he still kept going back to the garage and tinkering. He was so patient with his disability, I don’t think I would have been able to be that patient. He had his days when it would get a little overwhelming but honestly, I think he just took it in stride and kept on keepin’ on. Looking back now, I’m surprised he didn’t complain more. I guess everyone has their pain-threshold and tolerance-threshold, well, his was pretty strong.
So, I started with what has been lost but I find that I want to focus on what I have been given instead. I am a lucky girl, to have had my dad for as long as I did and for everything that he gave me that makes me who I am today. Multiple Sclerosis will never take my memories of him.
THANK YOU to the moon and back mom, you are so brave.