It seems I have been “overcoming” all my life. I was born with rheumatoid arthritis but it was not fully diagnosed until the age of 2 1/2 years old. My earliest memory is of sitting on an old brown naugahyde couch with my Mommy beside me on her knees. We were both crying. I was crying because I was in such pain and misery and she was crying because she couldn’t help, or understand, at the time what was going. Although I could understand what she was saying to me, I did not have the knowledge of how to say the words of the body part that was in pain. It was my knee, but I didn’t know “knee.” Mommy was saying, “Tell Mommy where it hurts, baby? Can you tell Mommy where it hurts?” I tried, but couldn’t.
From them on it was staying in hospitals. Almost dying on more than one occasion. Once I went so far as to rise above my body and look down, but, even though I knew I could go on, I was not going to hurt my beautiful Mommy: She didn’t want me to go. So, I came back, determined to live and have a life-like a “real” person.
At the age of six a doctor told me as I was sitting on an exam table I would not live to see the ripe old age of eighteen. My Mommy was sitting in a chair beside me and came from said chair with the furry of a momma bear protecting her cub. “Don’t you tell my baby she is going to die! Baby, your life is in God’s hands and no one else’s!” The doctor was very surprised at her outburst. I was really nothing more than a lost cause to him, but I was important to the woman who practically willed me live when I had no more strength to do so. The same can also be said for my Daddy and my wonderful sisters and brother, Mack.
There were more hospitals, of course. There were operations to replace hips and my left knee. Through it all I had a life. A real life with friends, family, ups and downs, heartbreak, losses, triumphs, rock bottoms, and soaring heights that will never ever be matched. I am now 52 years old and married to one of the most wonderful men on the face of this planet. We have a marriage. It is a real marriage, with ups and downs, heartaches and joys – mostly joys these days.
I have overcome being shy. I have overcome being angry through the adolescent years, never sure, until I was 19 I would really make it past that illusive 18th birthday. In looking back on all the trials of my life, I can say I have had a good one despite it all because of my family and my belief in God. My family never let me forget I was always a realperson who mattered and that it was up to me to decide what being successful was and is. My life is my own, and it is just as “normal” as anyone else’s out there. I can look back and smile with joy and happiness, and I can look forward with joy and happiness to the future because of what has been.
Yes, there is pain my future. What of it? There was pain in my past. But mostly there is joy and hope and excitement for today and tomorrow because tomorrow may not be as good as today, or it better. If tomorrow isn’t great, that’s OK. It will pass and we, The Husband and I, will overcome.