This time of year is a good opportunity to take stock of the wonderful people in our lives. Here is my inventory of those to whom I am sincerely grateful.
My husband, Jeff, is my constant. He is always there for me with unfailing love. He loves me through the good and, more importantly, the not-so-good times. He allows me to vent when I need to — whether I cry or complain — or remain in quiet contemplation. While Jeff was parenting our terminally ill daughter, Abby, he was there to lift me up through my cancer treatment and all of its side effects. He has seen me through seven surgeries and still loves me despite my body that resembles a science experiment. I can’t imagine my life without his presence.
My daughter Emily is incredibly kind, supportive, and good-natured. Her humor provides us with comic relief — we laugh a lot! She leaves sweet notes around the house as reminders of her love. This gesture was particularly welcome when I was going through chemo and feeling unwell. Emily checks in with us to make sure we are OK. She is an adult now, and seeing the fruits of our labor in raising her is so rewarding. She has too many positive character traits to list here, but suffice it to say that she is an exceptional child of God who I am honored to call my daughter.
My extended family is amazing, and always there for us when we need them. My brother and his family love and care for Abby, and their mutual affection is evident at family gatherings.
I am extremely close to my mom and know how fortunate I am to have her in my life. She and Abby have a special relationship and she takes care of Abby most weekends to give Jeff and me a break.
Informing her of my cancer and Abby’s Sanfilippo diagnosis was incredibly difficult for me. I knew that the news would hit her hard, but since I’ve told her, she has been strong and present for us.
Jeff’s family is compassionate and would do anything for us. Abby is doted on when she stays with her aunt and uncle, who are also her godparents. Jeff’s family calls and texts to check in, sends meals and flowers, and shares updates with friends and church community. We are surrounded by prayer.
They attend our annual fundraiser each spring and are willing to help out — all we have to do is ask. I realize how lucky we are to have them living nearby, ready to help.
A family friend, Hayley, keeps Abby one night a week. She selflessly volunteered to do it when she recognized our need. Hayley and Abby have formed a close bond, and Abby perks up whenever she sees Hayley. I feel uplifted when I witness another’s affection for my Abby.
Finally, I have to recognize Aly, Abby’s caregiver. She loves Abby so much and is so patient with her – through all of Abby’s mood swings. We are so lucky to have her in our lives.
Each of these people shows us the hands of Christ. They treat Abby and me as Christ treated others. I am fortunate to have an army of people who love us unconditionally and steadfastly. Their love is a precious gift.
I am also grateful to the Cure Sanfilippo Foundation for its work toward raising awareness and finding a cure. I am thankful for all of our loved ones as we gather to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Note: Sanfilippo News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sanfilippo News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Sanfilippo syndrome.