Thankful Awakening: Accepting Change with SPMS

Jennifer (Jenn) Powell avatar

by Jennifer (Jenn) Powell |

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neuropathy, positivity, husband, laughter, connecting, i am fine, self-care and MS, finding myself

My happiness quotient correlates with my ability to give. I find tremendous satisfaction in doing this. This is one reason that I cherish Thanksgiving. I derive immense pleasure in creating this symbolic meal for those I love. For a subpar cook, I knock the socks off the classic Thanksgiving menu.

Before dinner, I set a blessings jar on the table. I leave blank pieces of paper for each person to anonymously write something they are grateful for. I then read them as we enjoy our pie. I leave slips from previous years in the jar, distinguishable by a different color of paper. The blessings of gratitude are as abundant as the love that surrounds me.

Back to Thanksgiving. My family is a loving bunch. The rain made for a cozy day of movies and munchies. My husband made a delicious turkey while I cultivated sweet and savory side dishes. We had our usual holiday bickering followed by mutual praise for a job well done. But I struggled more than I had the previous year. As my disease progresses, challenges are impossible to hide. Everyone offered their assistance, most of which I declined.

I held on with all of my might. Just as I am holding on to myself as I progress.

Immediately afterward, my father sent me a thank-you note. After profuse thanks, he mentioned that all of the work gave him cause for concern. I felt translucent, as if he saw my internal struggle. Then it dawned on me that everything about my physicality has changed. My struggle is on inadvertent display. What I once took for granted now takes thought and planning. How could I not look fatigued when a simple shower takes so much effort.

A single tear rolled down my cheek. The loss was too much to bear. Thanksgiving at home has always been a tradition. I wanted so much to contradict his concern, yet I could not. He is my father. He saw in me what I would not admit to myself.

Pain and insomnia precluded our gathering. My spirit shone with joy, yet my body could not help but illustrate my condition.

Thanksgiving was indeed a day of thanks. I was deeply thankful. I am reminded to seek gratitude today. I open my jar and read each one aloud. This is my reality; these are my truths. The beauty of my blessings inspires me to create new possibilities. Let abundance lead my narrative. And let my jar always remain half full.


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I enjoy reading your posts. I have SPMS and am watching how others cope with this.
Your determined positivity helps me, and I'm sure it helps others as well.
We all have each other, and when one or more is in a good frame of mind, it can only move all of us forward.

Michelle Silvers avatar

Michelle Silvers

Thank you, Jennifer, for your words. I, too, am living with SPMS and dealing with the loss of mobility. Your words felt like I had written them about myself.

Raegan avatar


Wow, can I ever relate to this post. I know the time is coming where I can no longer host our family holidays and it fills me with so much sadness that it sometimes is hard to breathe. Thank you for this, I really needed to hear that someone else struggles with it as I do. My heart is with you


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