“Zachary and His Dad,” New Era, May 2013, 35
“It’s complicated,” my dad said when I was six years old. “I now have a disease called multiple sclerosis. Basically, my body gets tense and acts up when I’m under pressure. It means I’m going to slow down as you grow up, so we can’t go out as much and play or go fishing like other people do.”
That’s what changed my life. At the time, it was hard for me to understand what he was saying, but I now know what he meant. It helps to know what is going to happen with him, and I don’t have trouble talking about it.
Throughout my life I’ve been pitied for being the child with a disabled dad, and I have been excused from some things because I’m a “special case.” It can be hard at times, but I’ve learned to adapt to our situation. I know I have a few more challenges than some people, but that doesn’t mean I’m different. My dad is still my dad. He is a great person. He raised me with morals and a good conscience. He brought me up in the Church, and I think that is a great thing. What matters most is that he helps me. His illness hasn’t hurt me.
We all have problems, whether from a disease or a disability or something else. It’s how we deal with the problems that matters, and it’s part of what makes us who we are. We can’t fix all of our problems, but we can try to make them easier to live with—for us and for our family members.