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Inspirational lives

Recently, I was fortunate to be invited to an inspirational party and I wanted to share it with you in the hopes of getting you to appreciate each day of your life.

Years ago, through my job as a sales rep, I was fortunate enough to have an advertising account in Brattleboro and through this account, I became friends, of a sort, with the two sisters who owned the shop. They were one of my favorite accounts and as time went on I was sad to learn that one of the sisters was diagnosed with MS. I watched her decline from unsteadiness to crutches to a walker while always having a smile on her face and a great sense of humor. I was just in awe of her. She finally became wheel-chair bound and could no longer be in the shop and I missed her so much every time I visited.

At that time, another sister took her place and life went on. I was about at the end of my sales career when I learned that the sister who replaced her had also been diagnosed with MS and once I stopped working, I didn’t see them for quite awhile. Then I moved to New Hampshire and while at Walmart, in Hinsdale, I ran into the first sister with MS and was delighted to be reunited. Her attitude was so upbeat and when I visited her home I was amazed to learn that although she was disabled, she took care of an elderly woman who was dropped off at her home each day and she gave sewing lessons. She also was able to drive a special van. She was unstoppable.

Well, as usual, life got in the way — an excuse we all use — and although I would pass her home every time I went to Walmart, I never stopped to see her, always promising myself to stop “the next time.”

Of course it didn’t happen.

Fortunately I was blessed to run in to her again at, you guessed it, Walmart. I knew immediately as I saw the sign her wheelchair was sporting in bright neon green, that said “Crip On The Run,” that she was still the same humor-filled person. After catching up a bit, she invited me to a party at her sister’s home the following Tuesday. This was the second sister with MS who is housebound and I learned that every month, she holds a party/lunch with a theme. With the help of her care-giver they pick a theme, serve a delicious lunch at the dining room table, which is usually attended by eight other women, including her care-giver and they laugh a lot. The party I attended was a “Roughing It” party with place mats made from supermarket bags, brown bag lunches and bottled drinks wrapped in small brown bags, also. Next month will have a different theme.

This woman is truly an inspiration as is her sister. I’m sure there are times when they are sad but I don’t imagine it’s very often because they are such positive, inspiring people. They manage to find humor in everything, including their disabilities, and they don’t let those disabilities rob them of the life God gave them.

I certainly came away from that party with a different attitude. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff and we all should begin each day giving thanks for the good things in our lives instead of fighting about things that are usually trivial. I hope this story inspires you as it did me. And I hope that I am fortunate enough to be invited back again.

Sheila Quinvilan lives in Winchester, N.H.

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