One of a Kind – A Tribute to a Women Who is a Gift to So Many
She is one of a kind. Her beauty is rare but what attracts you to her flame is her own brand of uniqueness that wraps you in a blanket of warmth. Days go by and even months but just hearing the sound of her voice you are bathed in her light. The air around you is full of her scent. Her magic lies in her words and how they make you feel.
As a teenager she was a print and runway model In Chicago and New York and was the face of several Maybelline cosmetic campaigns. Later, you may have seen her on boxes of long and silky hair care products. Her adventures were many but never far from her mind was the lesson she learned as a child – always put faith and family first. It is your compass in this world.
For me, her beauty is because of the adversity she has encountered in life. At the young age of six, she spent over two years in a wheelchair because of rheumatoid arthritis. At the age of thirty-one, she was married with a newborn son and started having issues with headaches and slurred speech. After many doctor visits, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis which is a chronic and progressive disease of the central nervous system. Twenty-eight years later, her family continues to be at her side as she has endured all the necessary treatments and infusions to not cure MS but to slow the progression of the disease.
During this time, I have never heard a “poor me” story. She reinvented herself when she started a successful career in sales and marketing, always putting family first. At thirty-five years old, she surprisingly had a baby girl, forever thankful for this most precious gift of life. Returning to her career path sometimes meant giving herself an injection first or going to the infusion room for another round of experimental drugs and then heading to work.
Faith and family still remains her anchor, grounding her, helping to navigate her life of uncertainty with each episode. She was raised on hard work but her most important job now was being a Mom! It got her through each and every episode at times unable to speak or walk. Her strength lies in her unwillingness to give into the disease. In these dark times, faith steps in, filling her reservoir with courage, hope, and a calmness that settles deep in her soul.
There are days her steps falter as she slurs her words but it is her willingness to touch others in need that wakes her up every single day. With every cup of coffee, she has a grateful conversation with God praying for others in need.
Her radiant spirit greets friends. Her kind words mends hearts. Her children are her beacons as they reach adulthood. Her husband stands with her as she begins another phase of her life … retirement. “MS doesn’t scare me but retirement does.”
Part of the regiment for MS is each year you have several MRI’s which show the lesions which causes damage and scarring to the spinal cord and brain. Over time these lesions increasingly cause pain and weakness. In January of 2015, the damage was too severe for her to continue to work.
Once again, doubt has a way of creeping in shaking you up. Decidedly, this strong “one of a kind” women knows her tomorrows are her blessings. Like a tree she is rooted in love, so when a storm arises she will bend with the wind.
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