Courage

‘Flesh was hanging off the roof of his mouth. ‘Your son has no immune system to fight this.’ We were trapped inside the house for months in total isolation.’: Mom to medically complex, autistic sons urges ‘find your village’

“His lesions were so severe he couldn’t eat. Rashes covered his entire body. We had to inject him with Pedialyte every 15 minutes just to keep him from passing out. In the midst of trying to be a normal family of 3, we suffered 3 miscarriages. Here we were, emotionally and physically exhausted, still yearning for hope. Little did we know, after 11 pregnancies, baby B would surprise us with blood in his diaper at just 2 months old. We knew something was terribly wrong.”

‘I ignored my trembling. ‘It’s rare and mainly ends in heart failure.’ I lost count of ‘friends’ who vanished.’: Woman with Friedreich’s Ataxia graduates law school despite prejudice, ‘I’m no longer ashamed’

“When I was a teenager, I noticed balance issues that worsened over time and left me confused. I knew it was more than clumsiness. I wasn’t able to walk in a straight line, wear high heels, or dance without falling. I was told, ‘There is no treatment in sight.’ I isolated myself, ashamed of what was happening. I started to give up hope. It took FIVE years to get answers.”

‘I heard his sweet, crackly voice whisper, ‘Mama, I don’t want to go.’ He burst into tears and lunged toward me.’: Mom urges ‘cheer them on, congratulate them, tell them how proud you are’

“It was his very ‘fourst’ day of hockey. ‘What’s wrong, buddy? You were so excited.’ As I held my little trembling man, feeling his warm tears falling from his eyes onto my own cheek, every fiber of me felt his fear. A tiny part of me wanted to let him stay home. My heart ached as I watched the car pull out of the driveway.”

‘My daughter grabbed my face. ‘You got this, mom. It’s time for you to move on.’ I signed the divorce papers, and finally put myself first.’: Teen mom divorces after 12-year emotional battle with husband, ‘Never be afraid to start over’

“I got pregnant at 17. Every anniversary we celebrated made me angrier. We were living together, doing everything a married couple would do, yet he never popped the question. ‘Why am I not good enough for him?’ We argued so much my insecurities took a toll on my well-being. When we said ‘I do,’ our issues only got stronger.”

‘How do you feel?’ I said, ‘Shocked.’ But the relief I felt was unreal. Tears streamed down my face.’: Woman diagnosed with autism at 30, ‘Autism is not something I have. It’s who I am.’

“As my phone began to ring, I noticed there was no caller ID. My heart skipped a beat, my throat tightened, and I froze. I knew this was it. Why were they calling now? This was not a good time. My report was ready. I felt the blood rush to my head. I was walking through a busy street. Tears streamed down my face. I had waited for forever. Why had we not seen it for so many years? I was 30 years old – so much of my life had been a lie.”

‘A text from my husband came in. ‘I’m not happy. I want more. If you’re coming home, I won’t be here.’: Woman finds ‘new version of happiness’ after husband’s abandonment

“I pulled into a Dunkin Donuts parking lot and tried to call him. His phone was off. When I made it home, nothing was out of place. Except my husband was gone. Large bar tabs appeared on our statements. Girls’ phone numbers came up on our records. The following week, he agreed to meet me at the park. ‘I want a divorce.’ He was cold, emotionless. I refused, which made him angry. I obsessed looking for something that may have led to this. Some sort of sign. He offerred no explanation.”

‘Please stop judging me for leaving the office at exactly 5 p.m. Being a full-time working mom with young kids is not easy.’: Mom pens thank-you letter to those who have shown her ‘grace’

“I know I’m missing this meeting, but my kid’s preschool graduation is more important. I know I was late today, but I can’t drop the baby off at daycare until 7:45 a.m. I know I seem distracted, but I am. I have an inconsolable, sick toddler and I’ve been awake since 4:30 a.m. I’m supposed to leave my personal life at the door when I come to the office, but when you are a mom to two small kids, that is hard to do.”

‘My beautiful, newborn girl looked me dead in the eye and smiled. Minutes later, I was in the parking lot getting high.’: Man overcomes life-long addiction, ‘My recovery is nothing short of miraculous’

“I grew up in the heart of America’s opioid epidemic. By age 12, I was incarcerated for the first time. I was so violent, I’d attack my dad, punch holes in the walls. Soon, my daughter had to come visit me in a prison visitation room. Even the most beautiful of situations couldn’t fix how broken I was. One day, I posted about how desperate I was. A couple named Adam and Valerie reached out. These 2 people, and their 6 children, decided to give me a chance.”

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