That’s what I texted my mom the other night. It was late and I didn’t want to disturb them with a phone call, so I sent the message in hopes that she would see it and just smile. I asked her the next day if she saw my text. Now consider that if technical savvy were rated on a scale of 1 to 10, Mama would be about a 2. (She doesn’t have a computer. And, she bought an iPad a year ago.) She only gets that rating because I’ve showed her how to look at email, view texts, browse websites and what not. Although she does have a particular savvy for browsing through Macy’s, Nordstrom, and the like. But, she couldn’t answer a text or email on her iPad for anything. I do that for her. Go figure.
Anyway, when I asked her if she saw the text, she told me it was right on time. She has rough days with her multiple sclerosis. Some days are full of fatigue and pain. Others are somewhat okay. She has to get around in a wheelchair, so her tail bone could have been sore from sitting. But, this particular day was more anxiety-filled. She had already told me that a couple of nights before, she had experienced anxiety where her mind was racing. It was during the night and she can’t get herself out of bed and start doing something without disturbing Papa. So she worked on reeling in the thoughts and praying. She eventually went back to sleep.
Many people see Mama and think because she has a smile and she’s really well put together — other than in wheelchair — that she’s doing pretty well. They don’t know this part of her disease. It’s the part people can’t see. The nights filled with anxiety, thoughts that won’t turn off, worrying about what the future may hold for her or Papa. Will her disease get worse? Will the alternative methods she tries work? Will she ever walk again? Who will take care of her if something happens to Papa? It’s time to get information together for taxes. Oh, and we need mustard. These pressing and random thoughts can plague her. But, then her faith in God kicks in. She relaxes and realizes that she can only handle the current moment in time. We can plan for different events, but ultimately, we have to adapt to whatever our lives become. We have to joy in the moments we have and have unwavering faith.
With multiple sclerosis, anxiety and depression are not uncommon. A large-scale study from Canada suggests that people with MS have increased rates of anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia compared to people without MS. Our family chooses belief in God, family support, and alternative methods to handle those challenges. Others may choose medication. My personal belief is that while medications may help some people, our experience has been that they can cause other problems.
My point here is not to provide recommendations, other than giving with love. Think about your own anxieties, or the things that make you unhappy. What level of human compassion and understanding are you able to impart? The United States, we don’t truly have a culture of compassion as a whole. Our capitalist society supports greed; not love. Where was the compassion for the people in Flint? Why do the elderly have to struggle? Why are children hungry? Why…?
We don’t know how just one smile, one word of kindness, or even spending a little time can make a huge difference to someone suffering. Oh, and word to the wise… EVERYONE is suffering on some level. Rich, poor, and the Average Joe you see every day. It’s so easy to be self absorbed in this social media society we have become. FACEbook, YOUTube, and the like basically put the world at our fingertips. But, are our heads caught up in the virtual clouds to the point that we don’t have a true level of humanity for the individuals right in front of us? Sorry, I don’t mean to be preachy. But thinking about my mom’s situation has not only changed her, but it’s changed me.
I no longer assume that someone has all the support they need. No matter what, I try to provide what GG Beez can provide in their life. There’s only one ‘me’ in their life at a given moment and I believe that I need to give what I can in each moment that God grants me the privilege of being a part. In the short run – and later on the long run, it makes such a difference. It did for Mama that night. I didn’t realize it, but when I sent her that text late in the evening, she just needed at that moment to know someone was thinking about her as she was experiencing her feelings. It was kind of a virtual hug. Something to help her make it a little farther. One of the simple ways I reach out to her. I love you, Mama… Thanks for reading.