You know the type of day I’m talking about. The kind where it seems like NOTHING can go right. You’re late for something, something breaks, unexpected news is received, and there isn’t enough time in the day to deal with everything? Sometimes it seems like all the elements of the universe got together to plan out a bad day for you to have. It may feel that way when these types of days sneak up on you.
We’ve all experienced our share of bad days, and they seem to stick with us. But I wonder, when we have good days, do they stay with us just as strongly as these other types of days? It doesn’t always seem like it. Sometimes it’s easier to remember a bad day than to recall a good one. But what if we were to do just that-to purposely recount a good day we’ve had? What would that look like? Sure, with bad days we complain, grieve, and vent, but with good days, how do we describe these? How can we pocket and stow away those good moments so that we can retrieve them and re-experience them during one of these other days?
One idea is to write down your good experiences, that way you can take a look back at how the day played out and what good came of it. You can learn to be mindful of the good moments while they happen; when the good times are actively occurring, soak it all in, notice how you feel in that moment, stay present with your breath and what’s going on around you. So that way when you try to remember the good moments, they’ll be fresh in your mind, and you can hold onto them like precious fragments the universe brought you that day made especially for you. Recalling good moments and positive memories can help get you through those other types of days, so why not reminisce more often about the good?
Often a memory is sparked by some sort of trigger which could manifest itself as many things, a smell, a touch, or hearing a particular sound. For many, music can be a hallmark of specific times in their life so when listening to the radio and some random song from your past comes on you may be taken back to your living room and remember dancing and laughing with your girlfriends in the 6th grade.
Most of these memories are benign and may start you reminiscing; however, sometimes music can also evoke memories of more challenging times in your life, especially around moments of great grief or loss.
This morning, I heard one of these songs on the radio and it sparked a train of memories about a time in my life in which I experienced a significant loss. No matter how many times I hear that song it will always bring back a flood of memories. While I can’t stop the association my response to that song is now different than it may have been 20 years ago. As people change and evolve over time so do our emotions and our personal reflections on memories even of very difficult and challenging times in our lives.
Everyone has not one song, but many; however, there may always be one that stands alone as “the song” or “the trigger” for some difficult event. Sometimes reflection over growth and change over time can be beneficial. Over time we may find different truths in our memories, and maybe there is something positive which may be found amongst the pain. This morning when I heard “that song” I smiled instead of cried, and maybe it was a little bit of a sad smile, but that is o.k.
I decided to participate in this half marathon at my son’s urging. It was his idea totally, but it gave me a feeling of worth and something to look forward to. We made MSAA the beneficiary charity since I have multiple sclerosis (MS), and with lots of support we were able to raise over $4,500 to donate to a worthy organization. The race was a test of endurance and perseverance for both my son and I. My greatest fear was having muscle spasms in my leg; but despite the long ride, rough spots, bumps and elevated bridges, I came through the experience unscathed. I had no aftereffects other than being slightly sore the next day, and I was probably in better shape than my son and those that ran with us. It was an enjoyable ride, something I wouldn’t have gotten to do or places I wouldn’t have gotten to see if it hadn’t been for my son’s willingness to push me in this marathon. Like many, I deal with MS on a daily basis with the use of a rollator/walker/cane/wheelchair for mobility. Being able to be a part of regular life was a sense of accomplishment and self-worth, a gift to me from my son. He’ll never know how much his selfless sacrifice means, but it was the greatest gift I’ve ever gotten and I’d do it again if the opportunity presents itself!
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
- Jim Valvano
Father’s Day is an opportunity to honor the special fathers in your life. You can choose to honor your own dad, a brother, uncle, son, friend or co-worker. While those who believe in us deserve to be recognized every day, on this very special day, we can pause and give thanks.
Your gift enables MSAA to provide vital services and support such as our toll-free Helpline, equipment distribution, MRI assistance, and more.
“I am brimming with gratitude and appreciation for the generous support of the MSAA for the MRI scan which I received. The scan produced positive results informing my neurologist and me that my condition was stable. This fellow cannot say enough good things about MSAA!” - GLW, Georgia
MSAA is pleased to announce our partnership with HARDCORESWIM to provide exclusive Swim for MS swimsuits available for purchase. HARDCORESWIM is an authentic and innovative designer, marketer and distributor of premium quality young men’s and young women’s swimsuits, training gear, clothing, accessories and related products under the HARDCORESWIM name. HARDCORESWIM is based in Southern California and all items, from start to finish, are produced in California. There are two different Swim for MS style suits are available for men and women! Check out the Swim for MS page on their site and order your suit today!
Anyone that raises at least $150 during the month of June and tags a picture of themselves swimming or in their Swim for MS t-shirt on Facebook or Twitter will be entered into a raffle to receive a Swim for MS suit! Please go to SwimForMS.org to register!
There are several open registrations remaining for MSAA’s upcoming patient education program at Dave & Buster’s in Denver, CO on Saturday, June 15th at 9 am. The free program titled, Bridging the Communication Gap between Parents with MS and Their Children, invites parents and children to come together for special workshops which teach parents how to talk to their children about MS and enable children to learn about living with MS in a supportive manner through fun, interactive games and activities. The morning begins with a full breakfast buffet and ends with each child registered receiving a free $10 Power Card for video and arcade games following the program. Registration is required by June 13, 2013. To register, please call the RSVP at (800) 532-7667, extension 155 or RSVP online at support.mymsaa.org/dbdenverco.
The Denver event marks the third children’s program in a series of six this year which are scheduled across the United States. The presenters include Dr. David Rintell from Harvard Medical School and Sue Rehmus, MSAA board member and founder of her own nonprofit, Children’s Hope for Understanding Multiple Sclerosis (CHUMS). After a summer break, the remaining children’s programs will begin in the fall and are scheduled for September 21st in Boston, MA; October 19th in Baltimore, MD; and November 9th in Orlando, FL. The response to these programs has been tremendous and we would love to get your feedback if you have attended pervious programs or want MSAA to bring a children’s program to your area. Please let us know by responding to this post, emailing us at email@example.com or calling (800) 532-7667, extension 154.
You’ve heard of all the banal platitudes like “Never take ‘no’ for an answer,” “If you fall off the horse, get right back up,” and ”When there’s a will, there’s a way” – I’m almost certain my mother coined all of those phrases.
My mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at a young age when she started losing vision in one of her eyes. Fortunately that symptom subsided and she continued living her life as she intended. Four kids and a few decades later, the disease awoke again with a force to be reckoned with. Our warm summer beach vacations were moved to cool mountain ranges in order to minimize her exhaustion. Our Sunday afternoon bike trails shortened. Our floor-level card games moved to higher ground. Afternoon rests became a daily routine. Our everyday Mom activities had changed forever. At least that’s how I saw it.
My mother, on the other hand, never let that be the case. She never sought out pity from others, she never asked for help. Anything we did before, she’d find the strength to do it in her own new way. She wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer, she got back up on her horse, and she found a way. Yes, her everyday mobility has shifted towards a slightly different way of living, but life hasn’t changed.
While many cases of MS can be much more debilitating than the one my mother battles, I encourage those suffering from this life-changing disease to maintain the strength my mother has shown me. In honor of her continuing battle and as a tribute to her perseverance, this April I took on a personal “Swim for MS” challenge to swim 500 laps and raise $1,000 in 30 days. Sound hard? Not when you have this kind of inspiration.
It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is upon us, bringing times of celebration and joy to rekindle holiday feelings that make the season unique. Regardless of one’s traditions or religion, we gather together this time of year to celebrate love, new hopes, and remembrance of times past. It is a time to remember those we hold dear to our hearts and to join with them to celebrate the magic of the season—the lights, sounds, and feelings that make the holidays truly special in their own way. Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year!
Be sure to read the next MSAA Conversations blog posting scheduled for Wednesday, December 26th, 2012.
“Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.”
- Mother Teresa
“There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human, are created, strengthened and maintained.”
- Winston Churchill
Sometimes they can drive us crazy. We can argue, bicker and disagree on just about anything. I remember one Thanksgiving where my uncle, who thinks of himself as a turkey specialist, complained of how the turkey looked undercooked. He argued with my mother (the cook) about it all day, and yet continued to eat piece after piece of it even before the rest of the meal was finished. Yes, our relatives can really have their moments. We find that they can be our greatest allies, and yet some days, present us with our greatest challenges. They are family, and as the saying goes, “can’t live with them, can’t live without them.”
But there can be moments of such love and warmth within a family that have the ability to trump unforeseen obstacles, lighten unbearable situations, and bring insight we may have overlooked. At the end of the day we are who we are, and reflecting on the love and support of our “family,” biological or not, can oftentimes help us to face an unpredictable day. Share some of your memorable family experiences and the moments that make you feel loved by those closest to you…