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Monday

 

Enlightening photo series tells a deeper story about life with MS



















































“I will live, and see, and do as much as I can as quickly as I can. Which in the end may be a blessing you’ve bestowed. I just may do more in my life because of you, MS… but I’ll never thank you.” — Paula, Rockford, Michigan

After 20 years of living with multiple sclerosis (MS), Nadine Friedman-Roberts’ mother passed away from complications of the disease. One year later, Friedman-Roberts began a journey that brought her closer to understanding her mother and the disease she kept to herself.

“She and I never spoke, really. She lived with a lot of anger and denial; acknowledging that the disease lived with us was equal to her failing us, so she refused to discuss it. Thus, MS was terror, shame and sadness,” Friedman-Roberts explained in an email to The Mighty.

“I become cloistered and angry and confused… Only after she died was I really ready to talk to her about it. People are great with timing that way. I wanted some way to connect to her while confronting some of my persistent, 20-year shame and guilt,” she continued.

Since 2011, Friedman-Roberts has traveled all across the U.S., photographing people who have MS and inviting them to share their stories with her. Her collected photos and stories will be published in a book called “Whiskey, Waterfalls and a Radio Preacher,” and according to her Go Fund Me page, partial proceeds from the book will go to MS research.

When Friedman-Roberts first started this project, she expected gorgeous photos and flattering narratives of bravery and overcoming adversity. What her expectations hid were her bigger fears — “of becoming close to my sadness, of disappointing these people like I disappointed my mother,” she explained. She was also afraid of really confronting MS — “having to accept what happened to my mom, because dancing around it with nice photos and fundraisers is easier than listening to that ugly voice, saying that you failed someone you love,” she told The Mighty.

But what she found in those interviews with people was more than just beauty and bravery. She found people who offered vulnerability, honesty and friendship. She found stories of pain and joy, grief and freedom. And she found a better understanding of disease as a whole.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by THEMIGHTY
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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