1. You are going to cry. That is okay. When you are in the car at a stop light and it is pouring rain outside and your life feels like it is caving in...feel free to cry. You will feel better afterwards. You will pick yourself back up. And you will be stronger for it.
2. When you feel like things cannot get any worse, remember that your spouse feels those feelings 10x more than you do. When you are feeling helpless, remember that your spouse is feeling 10x more helpless than you do. When you feel tired and fatigued and emotionally raw, remember that your spouse is feeling that way 10x more than you do. And have compassion for them--recognizing that you only have a glimpse of what they are feeling.
3. You are going to feel angry. You are going to wonder if God is punishing you. You are going to feel like you and your spouse don't deserve an incurable disease. It's okay to feel that way, just remember that you won't always feel that way.
4. Don't be scared. You will be afraid, sometimes so afraid of what life has dropped at your doorstop that you will want to run away. Just remember that you have a choice--you can either be scared in the dark and shiver under the covers, or you can turn the lights on and face that monster under your bed.
5. Let others take some of your burden. Call a friend or family member for a shoulder to cry on. Accept a meal or babysitting. You are never alone if you allow others into your life.
6. Be glad to make sacrifices, but remember to take care of yourself as well. Take a bath, read a book, work on a project that you have been wanting to do in order to feed yourself first. You won't have anything to give if you are depleted.
7. Try to keep any negativity that you might feel away from your spouse. Their heart is aching with vulnerability, and if you add to that with your worries and negativity, you are only going to hurt the both of you more. This does not mean that you cannot let your worries known to them, but it does mean that being positive rather than negative the majority of the time will surely do more good.
8. Fight. Participate in the MS Walk. Raise money for the cause. Rally your friends and family members to join you to help find a cure for this disease. Getting involved will not only empower you, but every little bit of effort gets us all closer to our goal to stop MS from taking anything more away from us.
9. It's not their fault. It's not your fault. It's no one, not even anyone from Above's, fault. It's just life. We are human. And we are here on this earth to stretch and grow. MS can help us all do that. It does not define us, but it can mold and shape and give meaning to a life that might not otherwise have been given this type of opportunity.
10. Put the fear aside. Fear is the opposite of faith. Waking up every day wondering if this will be the day that your spouse loses all ability to walk is not the way to live your life. Instead, be grateful that every day--you get to live your life with them.
*This is probably, most definitely, one of the hardest posts I have ever written. But I hope and pray that someone needed to read it just as much as I needed to write it.