Posted by: sistermom1 | December 31, 2010

Hello 2011

In this new year, there is much that I will continue to learn.  This journey is one that I never would have taken voluntarily, yet here I am — without a GPS, armed only with my amazing support system, my intellect and my spirit.  One thing that I read recently occurs to me as I write: 

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us”  (Joseph Campbell)

On this very special evening — the last evening of 2010 – there is much to consider.  The life that I planned on having is a distant dream in my rearview mirror — an expectation that has not been met in any way.  Being dramatically sidelined by a diagnosis of MS was never in my sights as a potential option for my life.  The death of my father after a 6-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease was another experience that I never anticipated having.  I also never expected to be estranged from my sister and her family for several years, or to be eligible to recieve disability payments.  Yet, here I am I in the midst of these situations and many others, needing to not only navigate them, but be a positive example to my children, while having a truly great life in the midst of it all.

Oh – and another thing – today is my sixteenth wedding anniversary.    This detour has tested all of my assumptions about myself and the type of life that I would ever have.   One of the things that I wanted to be by this point in my life is a happy and successful wife and mother.  I end this year unclear about how I am doing in either of these roles. 

My husband has more than filled the gaping hole that has been left in our family routine by my illness.  He is a great cook, loving chauffeur and patient coach through both of our children’s activities.  He  also takes the time to express his love for me in many ways — ways that I would have devalued even a few short years ago.  He turns on my side of the electric blanket for me before I get in the bed.  He empties my commode without turning his nose up at the product.  He turns the heater on in our bathroom before I take my morning shower.  He remembers to put my exercise ball in the bed when he wakes up as I begin my day with stretching.  He is mindful that our family schedule does not over-tire me (MS leaves me exhausted by the end of most days).  He does all of these things while maintaining his wonderful composure and consistently positive attitude — the main thing that attracted me to him when we met so long ago.

So here we are — beginning a new year still challenging the one health problem that has been with us for five years.  One of the things that have resulted from this detour is writing this blog, but defining success and happiness in this situation continues to be my biggest test.  What does a happy marriage look like when one partner has been diagnosed with a life-changing (but not life-threatening) illness?  When the kids are still so young?  When your spouse is attractive and smart and wonderful and you don’t feel like you are any of those things yourself?

Although it is still a major challenge, letting go of the life I had planned is getting easier to consider doing.  I do feel a little like I am swinging on a trapeze — enjoying the experience, but afraid to jump from one swing to the other.  Moving from one swing to the other cannot be done without travelling freely through the air between the trapezes.  Letting go of one swing is required to successfully reach the other.  I believe that Joseph Campbell definitely got this one right. 

I start 2011 determined to have the life that is waiting for me.  Happy New Year to everyone who takes the time to read this blog — writing it is something that has given me so much this past year.  I can’t wait to share the next stage of this detour with you!



  1. Linda, thanks for sharing your heart in 2010. I look forward to being inspired by your words and perspective in 2011. Thanks for leading and living with grace in the midst of challenge. — Lorraine

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