No one is better equipped to talk about my 8 week online program, Sanctuary, than the women who have actually completed the program. Click the video below to hear why they joined and what they got out of it.
Not a stitch of makeup and just in from a walk - I’m couldn’t wait to hop on to share this with you today. Watch to learn a simple way to start addressing that nasty little belief: I’m not good enough. If it resonates I encourage you to check out my eight week, online program, Sanctuary, now enrolling.
This is an enormous weight you are carrying. The expectation alone is crushing, not to mention the energy it takes to get through the days. This is honorable work and your generous efforts are nourishing those that are closest to you. This is true even if no one notices or says thank you. Especially in those moments where you feel all alone while the rest of the world lives their lives on their own terms.
This is a season of life where it is hard to find time for yourself. Your mind is filled with caregiving to do's; it feels like you couldn't possibly put your needs above theirs because their needs are so great. There are never enough hours in the day.
Remember to breathe. If you have time for nothing else, take 10 seconds to close your eyes and breathe deeply. Light a candle as you get ready for bed as a reminder to do this, to help ease the anxiety a bit.
Remember to rest. When your energy is drained, you have less to give. You cannot serve from an empty cup. Rest is one of the most basic needs to address as we start to figure out how to take good care of ourselves.
Remember the things that bring you joy. Bring them into your days. These can be tiny things - they don't need to cost much (or anything). Play music you love while you are running from one task to another. Use the fancy tea cup and saucer each day. Go outside and notice your surroundings.
Perhaps above all, have compassion for yourself. You are still a beautiful soul underneath the weight of all that you are carrying. You are still yourself. Find a harbor in your mind that you can rest in each day. Allow yourself to set aside your burden and rest for a moment in your harbor.
Remember - your story is your strength,
Three life lessons from a tumultuous last decade.
1. Self care is no joke.
For a long time I believed that rest was for wimps. In college, I attended class all day, headed to a grueling three hour gymnastics practice, then studied at the library well into the night. I’d wake up for my eight o’clock classes and start all over again. It wasn’t that I was a human machine - one of my professors even called my gymnastics coach because I was constantly falling asleep in class. I simply would not acknowledge that I needed rest. After college, I kept this familiar schedule, working all day and coaching at night. Looking back now, I was running on fumes of anxiety. Down time terrified me. The expectations I put on myself were crushing and no amount of studying was enough.
It took having kids and leaving a job in academia after almost a decade to help me understand that this pace was unsustainable. It wasn’t one moment or even several, but a slow realization that I because I was not taking good care of myself I was not showing up as the person I wanted to be in the world. I had an extremely short fuse, lots of simmering anger, and I didn’t have any clue about experiencing the present moment. I had one speed - GO.
Gradually, I made big shifts in my life. I quit my job that had me commuting over an hour each way (with kids, full time). I started a new job from home. I went to therapy for the first time. I began my writing practice. More recently, after my migraines started significantly impacting my quality of life, I decided to try to get eight hours of sleep each night. I finally figured out how to nap.
I did these things over the course of about five years. There was surely no magic bullet. But I can honestly say that most days I feel really good about what I’m doing with my time and how I am progressing as a person. I have so much room to grow, but I’m also really proud of the choices I’ve made to get myself to this place.
2. Most of the small stuff doesn’t matter. Really.
Not long after my husband and I moved into our first home, a poorly built condo for which we paid way too much at the height of the real estate market before the recession, we had a toilet break. My parents were visiting. All of a sudden water starting coming through the ceiling where the chandelier was hung over the dining room table. I completely lost it. I was screaming at my family as if it was somehow their fault. I couldn’t calm myself down. My dad finally suggested I go out for a walk to cool down. This was my thing - get really mad, really quickly. Why was I so quick to boil over? Who did this anger serve? I guess I got a release and adrenaline rush when I let that anger go by yelling, but this was something I was not proud of.
For me, it took experiencing significant life challenges to fully understand and agree with the idea that most minor annoyances of daily life are not a big deal. When you say goodbye to your newborn, delivered into the world just hours earlier, and watch him wheeled away to undergo a cardiac catheterization under general anesthesia; well, traffic and picky eating and email just seem like ridiculous things to be worried about. Practicing being grateful has helped me too. When I’m struggling mightily with being a caregiver for my mom with advanced dementia I try to recall how grateful I am that my sister and I are a team, almost always aligned in decision-making and having each other’s backs for support. Facing this disease without my sister is unthinkable.
I lose sight of this one routinely, but I think I’m getting quicker in my recovery and I know my anger has decreased significantly. Just recently I arrived at the pool with the kids and noticed a hissing sound when I get out of the car. Turns out there was a screw in my tire. Instead of losing my cool, I thought about how fortunate it was that I noticed it and I quickly got the car back home before the tire was entirely flat. No biggie.
3. Your story really is your strength.
Like lots of new moms, I joined a baby group when my eldest was a newborn. There were probably 20 mom/baby pairs in this group led by a breastfeeding expert. I remember watching with a kind of horrified fascination as all the moms laid out their adorable teal and white chevron baby blankets, placed their baby upon them, and then actually sat back and participated in the discussion. My own dear baby (the one who’s now 10), screamed bloody murder if you dared try to leave her on the floor by herself. She was usually screaming anyway, but the volume was somewhat decreased if she was attached in some way to me. I can’t recall a single positive moment from that group and I think I may have stopped going, unable to handle the feelings of defeat that came in waves as I tried to get through those sessions. My early motherhood was filled with these moments of feeling alone, separate from the other moms, aside from my closest of friends.
We've since learned that this little baby, my daughter, Carly, experiences the world differently than most people you know. When she was a toddler she would often tell me she wished she was still inside my belly. The world was too much for her to bear. She needed parents who could let that be ok. Parents who could handle huge emotional hurricanes that roared through her little body. We were not those parents. Slowly, over the course of several long years, we changed the story of the parents we thought we were to become the parents Carly needed us to be.
Back then I couldn’t have imagined how Carly would have changed my outlook on life, but now I see how she has rewired my entire brain. The experience of feeling isolated as an outsider was new to me and brought along a new perspective, a new compassion for other people and for myself. Seeing my own child struggle in every possible way and trying for many years to help without seeing much success also made me a more empathetic person with a capacity for holding space for heaviness, discomfort, and loss.
This very thing I resisted, the ability to sit with the most challenging of emotions without changing or avoiding or shoving them behind the curtain, is the exact thing I bring to the women I work with in my business. It’s what I am teaching them to do with their own stories; look at the darkest of times square in the face and see the beauty in what you’ve become because you found your way through.
Written by Alison R.
As I pass by the open door, I can hear the muffled, tense voices again – anger, betrayal, sadness…fear, even. I take a deep breath, knowing I should move on, keep walking, ignore the drama unfolding. Try as I might, I’m drawn to the door and to her. I hug the doorway frame and strain to hear the details, knowing full well I won’t understand it all but curious if it could have something to do with me. I wonder when they will ever realize that their muffled tones can still be heard. We hear them every time. Greater still the silence and chasm between the two most important people in my life speaks volumes more than the constant arguing.
“Is she there again” I ask myself, “the little girl?" In her pigtails with the cute pink eyeglass barrettes holding her brunette hair back and the freckles accentuating her innocent blue eyes, she looks brave but she's trembling inside. She always goes there when it starts and quietly yet carefully chooses her spot, close enough to the door to slip away quickly but far enough down the steps so the voices easily convey up the L shaped stairwell.
As I crack the door ever so silently I see her once again.
“Oh, Alison,” I whisper, “not again with this. Come back up.”
“No,” she defiantly shoots back, “I don’t want to leave her.”
And she remained. She remained every time, despite my attempts to get through to her. She stayed there until the day he left and left them a new normal. A normal permanently scarred.
I look back on that time and talk to myself, a part of me forever stuck at seven years old, in that moment. Time and peace and introspection have illuminated what I could not process when I was that little girl.
It was their story; not mine. I have my own story to write.
Every moment has a lesson; the lessons are the gifts; learn.
Pain is not the destination; acknowledge it and pass through.
Look for the joy in the tiniest moment.
Protect my heart; be open but protect from harm.
This science is so powerful because it shows that how we tell our stories matters to our well-being. AND, if we don’t like the stories we tell ourselves, we can change them. Empowerment!
Recently I walked into the dining room of the assisted living facility where my mom lives. As I made my way to her corner table a woman stopped me. She stood up and blocked my path in fact. I knew she was also a resident, I'd waved hello to her on occasion, but we had not had a prior conversation. She was wearing a turquoise cardigan, sporting the same short, blond cut as 75% of the female residents, and she was sitting at the cool kids table. "Your mother keeps going outside by herself," she states, clearly agitated, with a razor sharpness to her voice. "You need to get her to stop doing that."
Woah. It was as if this woman had been waiting for me, almost like she knew I would be there that day, so she rehearsed all morning what she would say. She was a cheetah ready to pounce on her prey, an unsuspecting daughter stopping in for a chat.
I knew immediately that this was the woman I had been told was chasing my mom outside all week and telling her that she didn't belong out there. There's a beautiful outdoor space behind the building; one of the main reasons we chose this particular place. One of the only things that continues to bring my mom joy is being outside and looking at the flowers and birds.
If only I had been practicing my comeback, I'm sure I would've had a good one ready to fire away, but instead I smiled and said that while I'm sure she was simply looking out for my mom's safety would she please stop telling my mother what she can and can't do. Then I walked past her and over to sit with my mom.
So here it is, proof that even in the old people's home, bullies and naysayers continue to exist. They don't magically transform into kind elderly people. I think it's kind of freeing in a way. If there will always be people who don't believe in your dream, people who think you can't do it, people to hold you back in some way, why not do it anyway?
Imagine yourself there, inside of this dining room I told you about. Would you rather be the person who never opens the door to go outside because it's not easy for you and what if someone has an opinion about it? Or are you the person who chooses to go outside to see the blooming hydrangea and lilies in June simply because it makes you happy, even if people are whispering about you doing it?
Often we hold ourselves back from pursuing something we want to do because of other people. Maybe a family member won't approve or a high school friend will see it on Facebook. We could hide from these people (and we would have to do it for the rest of our lives, apparently) or we could simply do it anyway.
What would you do with your life if there was no old-lady-bully to stop you?
I’m sharing two pieces of writing by outstanding female writers and why mental health is so important to me personally and in my business. If you want to explore your own mental health journey but don’t know where to start I’d love to be your guide.
Resources mentioned in this video:
Nuggets of wisdom gleaned from “Becoming”. This book is so good! I’m nodding my heading with every turn of the page.
Do you miss my writing? I’m still doing it, just sharing mostly with my newsletter list at the moment. You’re on the list right? If not, hop to it - join by clicking here. You’ll get my beautiful guide, Rewrite Your Story, just for signing up.
It’s just been so much fun to dive into these books with you. Here are the two writing prompts I came up with from the second half of Inheritance by Dani Shapiro:
Are there things we know, subconsciously, before we know them? Why do we put of pursuing the truth or acknowledging what’s happened?
If we are striving for understanding and healing, maybe we must revisit our stories time and again. What story of your needs revisiting?
I’m teaching a new, free class next week. It’ll be different than these Facebook live videos - I’ll have slides (ooh la la), be a tad more organized, and I created a beautiful workbook to go along with the class. If you can’t attend live you can sign up to get the replay. Get all the details and sign up: https://www.orchidstory.com/
This one’s for my sister.
Every inch of my body screamed, "I can't do this again. I need to leave. I can’t handle One. More. Moment.” I felt agitation running through my veins, anxiety rising in my chest. Resentment and anger came bubbling up as I thought of all the families sitting down to their Thanksgiving dinners while I found myself in a room alone with my mom, inside of the assisted living facility we had moved her into two weeks prior. She was downright refusing to get dressed and come with me to join the rest of our family for the meal. Or maybe it was her disease, the PCA, that was refusing to come.
I took a step back and tried to breathe to stop myself from yelling. I wanted to yell all the time, at anything and anyone. At the squirrels who got in my way on the sidewalk, at the aide who should’ve had my mom dressed already, at my kids to put their shoes on. In that moment I wanted to yell at my mom. Then my sister, Dani. “It isn’t fair that you get healthy grandparents”, I would scream. “You get to leave for the holiday and go on date nights with free babysitters and have someone cook for you while here I am, stuck in this room.”
The thing was, I really couldn’t convince my mom to come with me. While I was seeing red inside of my reptilian fight or flight brain, I knew enough to know that I was not mentally in a place where I was going to be able to connect with my mom, get on her level, empathize. Get her dressed so I could be with the rest of my family who were already together, waiting on us. So I called Dani.
Isn’t this what we do as siblings? I would do this to no one else on earth (well, except maybe my husband - sorry babe). I’m so resentful in this moment, I’m letting my emotions get the best of me by attacking my sister in my mind, I know she already feels horribly guilty about leaving me alone to deal with the situation, and I decide to call her?
And, you know what? She answered.
Thinking back on it now, I have tears in my eyes. Tears of deep gratitude for Dani. Put yourself in her shoes for a moment. After months of crisis, I mean crisis every damn day for weeks on end where you are pulled from meetings at work and bedtime with the kids to take care of our mom. Off to the neurologist, the psychiatrist, the ENT. Off to the emergency room. Off to a meeting you’ve been called to with the director of the facility. It is only us. Her and I. We moved her here away from her village and so it is us and only us who are responsible. Dani has finally gotten an opportunity to take a moment to breathe. A few days where she can be with her two little kids and focus on them with her full attention because she knows that even if she gets called she can’t physically come. It’s a huge weight lifted for a few precious days. And I evidently wanted to sabotage it for her.
Not only did she answer the phone, but she answered it free of hostility, even though she had to know it was an SOS call from me before she picked up. We had been answering each other’s calls with, “What happened?” for the past two months. But on Thanksgiving she sounded happy and peaceful when she said hello. Immediately upon hearing her voice I started to relax. I put her on speaker and she spoke to our mom in the way that I wasn’t able. She soothed and listened and comforted. After we hung up, I got mom dressed and off we went.
For years people have told me, “It’s good that you have your sister.” For a long time, I wanted to respond by saying that having a sister doesn’t make the pain go away, you know. It’s still the hardest thing I’ve ever faced. “You’re reminding me of my sister because you want to create distance between yourself and this hardship I’m in; it’s easier to sugarcoat it with my sister rather than acknowledge the pain, isn’t it?” I wanted to say.
This year though, a deeper level of gratitude than I have ever felt before, came into my life. We have walked through the hardest days together, Dani and I. Facing the depth of this disease together, the stripping away of the woman we both love dearly has bound us together in the most beautiful way. We have chosen, time and again, not to scream at each other. Not to take our pain out on each other. But to support. To be the other person’s person. To love.
Now when people tell me how lucky I am to have my sister I close my eyes and say a prayer. Thank you for Dani. Please keep her safe. Please protect her energy and bring her peace.
Marathon time - our family raised over $12,000 for the Foundation and Curt finished the race in just over four hours. It was a day filled with all sorts of emotions - thrilled to be part of the event, moved by the runners persevering in freezing wind and rain, gratitude for the doctors that saved my son's life (like Dr. T pictured here), and devastated that congenital heart disease continues to take so many children away from us.
In late spring after a routine echocardiogram for my seven-year-old son, Griffin, we were told he needed more intensive testing. We headed north to Boston again in August for Griffin to undergo a cardiac catheterization and MRI. We knew there was a chance surgery would be indicated and sure enough, it was time. This picture shows Carly and Griffin at the rooftop garden on top of Boston Children's after we got the news.
This week we will travel to Boston for our 4th trip in 2018 for Griffin's open heart surgery. My heart is aching and I'm scared, but when I reflect on traveling to Boston for Griffin's birth I realize what a long way we've come. Back then, we had no idea what Griffin's life would look like and now I've had the great honor of being his mother for almost eight years. This disease truly affects everyone in the family and traveling far away for care takes a big village. I know how fortunate we are that we can make this happen.
I'm taking a little break from writing to focus on my family so you won't get my newsletter for the next couple of weeks. In the spirit of my new program, Sanctuary, I'm challenging myself to find a moment of sanctuary each day while Griffin's in the hospital and I'll be posting them on Instagram with the hashtag #orchidstorysanctuary.
This time of year can feel overwhelming for many of us; I invite you to come join me on Instagram and share your own version of sanctuary with me. I'd love to see how you create safe, warm, and inviting spaces for yourself amidst this busy season.
Finally, this year has held so much goodness and growth for Orchid Story. I want to say thank you to each of you for reading these words, sending me sweet notes, taking my workshops and classes and giving me all the good vibes. My hope is that by sharing my own stories of finding strength in my struggle you feel encouraged to do the same.
I don't consider myself a mommy blogger. In fact, I tend to feel on the outside of most groups of Mom peers. At a writing workshop I attended we were each instructed to write a one line response to "What I know" and I wrote: I know how it feels to stand in a group of moms and feel utterly alone.
What I also know is that this is more about me than the other Moms. It's my attempt to shield myself from the judgement of the Moms. For a while the only coping mechanism I could muster was to hold up the shield and crouch down behind it. I've spent a lot of energy trying to understand that other people's opinions of my parenting choices or my children are their business and have nothing to do with me. I've also spent a lot of energy trying to be the mom my child needs me to be in all settings, not just when it's most comfortable for me. These continue to be works in progress.
All that said, when you find a beautiful soul who understands your motherhood journey, it is such joy. Sharing openly about the challenges and the hard times is crucial for who we are at our core. One of the greatest gifts of Orchid Story is that the women who feel compelled to join this community are kindred spirits who also believe in this. You all are the moms I want to stand beside and I want to open up to.
It is with this energy that I joined forces with the amazing Kristy Rodriguez of Pure Nurture to offer a FREE community event for moms. Our salon, Your Motherhood Narrative, is happening the evening of Friday September 7th. Go here for more info. I know firsthand how important it is to have spaces and people to share our motherhood experience. This is one of those. I hope you'll join us.
In the spirit of serving, creating community and engaging with like-minded people, I will also be participating in an Open House at the Insight Shop on Saturday September 8th. Have you ever thought to yourself that you think you would like to attend one of my workshops or classes but you aren't sure? This is just for you. Come get a sense of who I am and how I teach. It's FREE and no registration is required.
Ok, if you made it this far clearly you are interested. I have one ask of you, depending on your location:
- If you live in the DMV: Come to one of my free events this week. Registration is required for the Your Motherhood Narrative salon and there are only a couple of spaces left. The Open House does not require registration. Both are FREE. Give yourself the gift of investing time in yourself and I have a feeling you won't be disappointed. This is the perfect way to sample what I'm offering.
- If you live outside the greater DC area: I believe so strongly in creating space for these conversations that I will host an online, video format of the Your Motherhood Narrative for FREE if I have at least eight people email me and tell me they want to attend. Share this with a friend if you really want it to happen!
I have lots in store this fall and I am SO excited to kick it off with these events. (My in person class is coming soon... go here if you want to make sure one of the spaces in class is yours.)
My response to the exercise: pick one photo you love from this summer and give yourself 15 minutes to write a reflection on it.
It was a gorgeous day on the shores of the Outer Banks, NC. Day seven of our vacation; the last day. I was sitting in my beach chair next to two of my dearest friends drinking cheap, too-sweet wine from the snack shack up by the parking lot. The kids, seven of them in total, fanned out around us. A couple were in the water with their boogie boards, a couple digging in the sand, a couple digging for M&Ms in the trailmix. Every 30 seconds or so one of them would come over to the three chairs to whine about their brother stealing their shovel or to ask for help with a towel.
In between the stop-bys, it was heaven. My portable bluetooth speaker hung from my chair playing the beach party playlist and I was reading "The Execution of Noa P. Singleton" by Elizabeth Silver. Just two weeks later I would actually get to meet the author and I was thrilled about the prospect. My kids happened to be among the eldest of this gaggle of children, which meant that I was actually reading my book, one to two pages at a time. After many years of barely sitting on the beach, this was exhilarating. Just being near my girlfriends made my heart sing since busy schedules meant getting together back at home a challenge.
As one of my friends sat back down in her chair and sighed, Ahhh, this is awesome!, I thought back to my own childhood, where we went to the lake, instead of the beach. My mom was also with her best friend on these vacations, similar to our annual Outer Banks trip. Each morning, after coffee and reading on the porch, my mom and her bestie would head down to the dock to set up for the day. They "owned" the two lounge chairs on the lower dock. The kids were allowed to use the lounge chairs on the upper deck. I don't think any of us kids ever even attempted to sit in a mom chair. The five of us kids, all girls, occupied ourselves all day with little involvement from the moms. Our Barbies went bungee jumping off the high deck, we rock-jumped, sailed, created plays and performances. We made our own lunch and our own fun. It was simply understood that the moms were not to be bothered while they were in their chairs.
This was a pretty stark contrast to my own vacation where us moms packed enough food for an army and were constantly jumping up at the whim of our kids. My own kids were definitely at the age where they could be doing more for themselves. Gosh, was I more of a helicopter mom than I realized? Was I setting my kids up to be entitled?
My thoughts were interrupted by my nine year old, Carly, who bumped the big red gummy bear float into my chair and asked me to go into the water with her. I'd said no a lot of times in the past week. Despite loving the beach I don't have a fondness for going in the water. I almost shouted, The moms are not to be disturbed right now! Instead, I paused for a moment, remembered it was our last day and thought about how I try to say yes to her when I can, since she gets so many no's.
Ok, let's do it, I said and followed Carly and the gummy bear float towards the water, the sound of my beach playlist fading behind me.
I'm getting ready for my Hero's Journey workshop this Saturday in Vienna, VA (we still have a few spots left! come join me!) and in doing so I've been thinking about both the literal and figurative journeys I've been on this summer. I had a deep realization in recent weeks what a privilege it is to be able to travel. Take a second to be filled with gratitude for the the places you saw, the foods you ate, the conversations you had.
I'm sure it's the same with you. Lots happens over the summer - we travel to new places, we spend more time with people we love, we read lots of books (I read a ton of books this summer - maybe I'll do a roundup for you soon). Then, we get to the end of August and school is starting for the kids, we are rushing around trying to get everything ready and before we know it we're celebrating Rosh Hashanah and attending weekend soccer games. The summer feels like it was years instead of weeks ago. You don't need kids to understand and live this phenomenon. We are wired to be thinking ahead and planning for what's next, constantly.
Taking a moment for reflection fills your soul. It reminds us where we've been and what we learned. Or why that trip was so important for you to plan and take in the first place. One fun and simple way to access this journey of yours is to open up your photos on your phone. Pick one you love and give yourself 15 minutes to write a reflection on the photo.
Like the idea but know you won't actually carve out the time to do it? Check out my new calendar of events to see how I can support you in telling your story.
I opened my email and saw a word I'd never seen before: Kripalu. It was an email from a student of mine, someone who saw my heart as I saw hers without the need to talk much about it. I scrolled down and then saw this more familiar term "narrative medicine". I felt my shoulders straighten because that's my jam and because that's the graduate program my sister in law completed at Columbia.
This email was about a workshop, a retreat. Where was Kripalu and how did you even pronounce that word? The description jumped off the page at me. Writing, self-discovery, psychology, storytelling. Healing. The workshop was long, almost a week, and it was far away. It was also coming up quickly so obviously there was no way to plan and make arrangements. I responded to my student, "This would be perfect for me... Maybe in the next couple of years when the kids get a bit older." I closed my laptop and went on with my day, Kripalu, however you say it, shrinking away as quickly as it came.
Two days later, same place, same laptop, same email account. In my inbox I saw that funny word again, "Kripalu". I clicked it thinking it was a reply from the same student. Nope. This was the same Kripalu email about the Narrative Medicine retreat, but forwarded from a different student of mine. Another student with whom I had truly connected in the past year.
This time I got a tingle up my neck. My immediate response was: I need to take this more seriously. When the universe, G-d, inspiration, your muse, or whatever you name it comes to you twice, it's time to listen.
Several weeks later I packed up as if for summer camp and drove eight hours to Kripalu, nestled in the Bershires in Western Massachusetts. It was one of the most life-affirming weeks of my life. I found my people (people like you, my dear reader). The morale here is that listening to the little whispers, the knowings in our heart, can lead us to the experiences in life where we feel most at home, most like ourselves, most happy. Don't ignore them even when it's inconvenient and hard.
Writing prompt: When was a time when you followed your intuition and what happened when you did?
ps Swami Kripalu was a yoga master. You can read a little more about him here. (I'm no expert but this is how I'm pronouncing it: krĭ-PAW-lu.) xoxo
The Bellevue Literary Review is a literary magazine published by the Department of Medicine at NYU School of Medicine. The essays and poems examine how illness affects the human condition. These are super high quality pieces of writing that I think you would enjoy. One day I hope my work will be published on those pages.
I was looking for a piece to share with you that examined chronic illness and the one that struck me the most was from the point of view of the son of a man with multiple sclerosis (MS). This isn't lost on me - as the child of a mom with a chronic illness of her own, it's no surprise I landed upon this piece. The author examines his own adjustment to MS, which seems to color his entire existence. This is in contrast to his father's seeming nonchalance about his condition. Isn't this fascinating? That two people in the same family can live through the same experience and have a completely different response and outlook. This line jumped out at me:
I became, in short, his emotional shadow, feeling all those things it would have been understandable for him to feel, if he had been a different kind of person.
I often ask myself why things stick to me and weigh me down. Why I carry bricks of concern in my backpack while others shed their backpack altogether. I think that's why I enjoyed this piece so much. I felt a connection to these words that sometimes seems hard to find in my world.
I hope you enjoy it too. What about it resonates with you? Reply and let me know. I recorded an audio file of me reading the piece since it is on the longer side.