Each Sunday, I devote my blog to the stories of others who let their Moonlight times inspire them to let the positive blossom from the negative. Today’s story comes from Brenda, who was diagnosed with M.S. in 1995. Three years later, she has used her diagnosis, not as a crutch or an obstacle. Brenda has chosen to view her situation as part of the road she was meant to travel. She is a role model for her children and for so many of us with M.S. or other obstacles in our lives. Read on about Brenda…
When I read Kim’s suggestion of writing about my Moonlight I thought “Oh, this will be easy.” Then I placed pen to paper and nothing; not as easy as I thought. There is not one incident in my life that I would say was my defining Moonlight, but it turns out that it was several Moonlights stretching over time. I was the second child of five from a very poor family whose parents were too proud to accept help — if it was even available back in the 70’s. I was 24 when I became a single mother of 3 boys, took a job as a hostess and eventually a waitress to support my family. My middle son has had health issues from 6 months of age, ranging from severe asthma to having his colon removed. I, too, have battled different health issues ending with my MS diagnosis on my 36 th birthday.
I believe the road we travel is what defines us and this is very true for me. I can look at every quirk and tell you where it comes from. I hoard food ~ this from being poor as a child. I remember a stretch of only having stale crackers and used tea bags. I silently made a promise to myself that my sons would never experience that part of life and I have been blessed enough that they have not.Both of my parents worked hard to provide for a large family, thus not allowing time for their children. I knew being a single mother, I, too, would have to work hard and anyone who’s been a waitress knows how hard this is on the mind, body, and soul.
I enrolled my boys into the local Head Start program but also volunteered a couple of times a week. During the three years my sons were enrolled I started a fundraiser to help the families there. It wasn’t until my last son finished up that the Director approached me with funds raised that year to help me and my family. She told me that I was more deserving of these funds and in greater need then the families I set out to help, I never saw it that way. My husband has saved my tax return from 1993. I made $7,843 that year, managed a house, raised three boys, and paid all of my bills on time – all without any help from anyone (including their father). I am asked how I did it and I simply respond by the grace of GOD. I do not know how I managed to stretch the money the way I did and I do not question it. I simply give credit where credit is due ~ GOD.
I guess dealing with all of my children’s illnesses prepared me for my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. I was in the hospital when my doctor and his resident came in to tell me I had M.S. I was dumbstruck with how hard it was for the doctor to tell me, even his resident stumbled over his words. I turned to my sister (who is a RN) and asked what they were trying to tell me. She said, “You have Multiple Sclerosis.” Not knowing what M.S. was I looked at the doctors and said “Am I going to die?” They quickly responded with “NO.” I replied, “So what is the big deal?” — at which point they sighed relief and bolted from my room. My sister returned home after my discharge and I was left to ponder my future. My husband and I had submitted our dossier toChinato adopt a baby girl just two weeks before my diagnosis, how would this effect the process? Would they deny us a child? Many questions ran through my mind about how this would affect everyone else. But the reality had yet to set in on how this would affect me and three years later still has not. Do I live in denial? Some people would say yes. I do not think so. I think life has dealt me a road bump and how I deal with this will define who I am and how I approach future endeavors.
I guess the question is: has everything that I have endured in my 39 years been my Moonlight or is it my Sunshine? If you look at who I am today you would say it was my Sunshine. I am wealthy in more ways than money can provide. I work for a wonderful Christian man as an Executive Assistant; I have three grown sons who are successfully finding their way through life. I remarried 11 years ago to a wonderful, caring man and we have a beautiful daughter who will be 3 years old in February. Life is good. I am who I am because of where I have been.
Sunshine and Moonlight Lessons from Brenda:
The roads we each travel define us.
Sometimes Sunshine and Moonlight moments in life aren’t obvious.
True “wealth” has nothing to do with money. Women with M.S. make awesome moms!!
Interested in submitting a story for O Sole Mio SUNdays? What are the rules? There really aren’t any. I don’t care if your story is long or short. It doesn’t matter what your Moonlight situation was — whether M.S.- related or something else. Submit your stories to me and I’ll post them here. A lot of folks read this blog, so please let me know if you’d like your email address included with your story. Send along a photo if you’d like and I’ll post it, too.The only request I have is that you make a connection for my readers, explaining how your Moonlight inspired you. Describe the opportunities and the gifts you received from your Moonlight times and find a positive side to your story. Not everyone likes to talk about themselves, so if you have story about a loved one, a friend, someone who inspired you, send me their stories, too.Click here to send Kim YOUR story!And, then be sure to visit Sunshine and Moonlight each Sunday for Ole Sole Mio SUNdays!