Aunt Jean: When you look up the word “strong” in the dictionary…

When you look up the word “strong” in the dictionary the first definition that pops up is “having, showing, or able to exert great bodily or muscular power; physically vigorous or robust.” That is the complete opposite of my Aunt Jean, yet when I think of a strong woman she is the first person who comes to mind. My aunt has MS. It took away her mobility and causes her excruciating pain. Even though life hasn’t dealt her the best of cards regarding her health, she is always found with a smile on her sweet face and a willingness to help others any way she can. For example, she regularly makes lunches for needy families. Her laugh is contagious, her heart is kind, and even in her suffering, she is joyful. Recently, I was reminded of her strength when her husband brought up their worry about losing healthcare benefits. He mentioned that my aunt travels to a special medical facility for pain treatments that are covered by insurance now, but because MS is a pre-existing condition, the future is unclear. In true form, Aunt Jean quickly hushed him up and kept the focus on family and the celebration for my brother’s new baby.
I know she is in pain, maybe even suffering, but she doesn’t want that to be what people see in her. So she projects kindness and joy. She is one of those people who makes you feel good just by being around her. If we could all master this, the world would be a better place. My Aunt Jean is an incredible woman and I am so blessed to have such a great role model in my life. I love and respect her so much.


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