I created this blog to share my life with all of you. Therefore, this includes sharing more than just stories about my time on The Voice and my music career. Although I just posted my first blog last week, sometimes sharing my life with you might include posts that have nothing to do with music, but everything to do with life and the world we live in.
Family is a very important part of my life and something that I will write about often.
My Aunt Kelly was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in September 2010. MS is a chronic, progressive, and often debilitating autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. More than 2.1 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with MS.
Until recently, only my Aunts immediate family and friends even knew she had MS. Heck, I wasn’t even aware of her diagnosis until 2-3 years ago. Other than back pain, numbness and tingling from her waist down and memory issues, she didn’t have any visible symptoms that would have caused her kids, nieces and nephews to be concerned.
Unfortunately, over the last few years my Aunt’s symptoms have advanced. She now experiences frequent pain in her upper back, shoulder and arm, decrease in left hand dexterity, a left leg drag, and other symptoms.
My Aunt has always been an incredibly energetic, fun and active person, so as you can imagine, these advancements have forced her to completely change the way she lives her life.
When I was younger birthday parties were a BIG deal in my family. As some of you know, I’m a triplet so the party always included tons of family and friends, games, prizes, lots of food and most importantly THREE birthday cakes.
Lets get real.
Three little kids were not going to share the same birthday cake without someone crying. Samantha might blow the candles out before Chris and Emily get a chance to, and then Emily might blow out more candles than Chris, so then Chris might get upset and throw himself head first into the cake just to prove a point. It’s a birthday nightmare.
Anyway, there were a few parties where we had surprise guests come and join the fun. One year we had Barney visit our party and another year we had Elmo show up. As you can imagine, being tight with Barney and Elmo definitely impacted our social statuses in preschool and grade school. Once we grew up and realized that Elmo and Barney didn’t exist in real life (a heartbreaking day for my sisters and I), we learned that our Aunt Kelly was the one dressed up in the costumes. She did this so that we would have unforgettable birthday memories. To this day, I still remember and talk about those parties.
It makes me extremely sad to see my Aunt struggle through her symptoms brought on by MS. In return, I am reminded of the millions of other individuals struggling with MS every day with worse or similar symptoms as my Aunt.
Throughout this past year, I’ve grown a lot in my faith and spirituality. I’ve often found myself wondering how God could allow diseases like MS or even cancer to impact the lives of so many individuals. I can’t say that I’ve found the exact answer because there are some things that we will never understand during our time on this Earth. However, through prayer and the wisdom and knowledge of close friends, I’ve come to this conclusion:
Some people will say that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. I disagree. The world that we live in is way more than we can handle and the everyday struggles and hardships of life are more than any single person can bare. However, we are never given more than what God can handle. When tragedy or sickness enters our lives or the lives of family members, we need to seek God and his guidance and love. I’m not saying he will instantly heal you, but he will lift the burden and weight of the tragedy or sickness you may be carrying.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for you souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30)
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
There may be times when you think that no one could possibly understand what you are going through because you can’t describe you’re feelings in words. But God doesn’t need words because he knows you and everything about you. He created you.
Aunt Kelly, I love you and will be praying for you. You are strong, inspiring, and courageous. Thank you for all that you have done for our entire family, and thank you for dressing up as Elmo and Barney for our birthday parties. You are the greatest Aunt a kid could ask for and I am blessed to be your nephew.
My Aunt is heading to Mexico tomorrow to begin a treatment program that will span over approximately 3 months. You can show your support for my Aunt by following the link below to help offset the cost of the treatment.
My Family and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.