How Loved Ones Can Help You Overcome Negative Memories
Columnist Ari Anderson shares some of his favorite sibling memories
As I write this column, 2022 is almost complete in the book of memories. I must admit that with two surgeries this year, many memories from the year aren’t my favorites. Truthfully, 2022 is ending on a wonderful high note for me, but that’s a story for another time.
For now, I’m in another one of my nostalgic moods. I’ve talked about how the current Christmas season has a way of inviting me to relive past holiday memories. Well, the end of the year also gets me thinking about memories from long ago that have nothing to do with Christmas.
I’ve previously shared with you many of the mental snapshots from the scrapbook of my mind. Some were spectacular and others less so. One unfortunate event I’ve described was a day I had in the fifth grade. That’s when I realized that most of my classmates would prefer outdoor activities and sports to interacting with me for years to come.
This isn’t a sob story, though. For every mental picture I have of being neglected by my peers in school, there is a positive memory right beside it. These memories are of one person my own age who didn’t ignore me: my sister. Siblings don’t tend to focus on medical challenges that their brothers or sisters face because that’s all they’ve ever known.
Even when I was the sickest I’ve ever been, during the first four years of my life in the hospital, we still teased each other like normal kids. This teasing continued all the way into our 20s and beyond, especially during van rides. Oh, the pranks we used to pull on each other. For example, my sister liked to tickle me a lot. Other times, I would stick my tongue out at her.
Of course, I didn’t do anything worse than that. And if you believe that, you’ll need to get to know me better!
Despite the typical brother-sister fighting and teasing, we always showed each other that we cared. Whenever she saw someone treating me unfairly while we were growing up, she would become very protective of me, and I would do the same for her. Even when one of us had a headache, we would put our foreheads together and pretend like we could transfer the pain to the other person. If that doesn’t show love, I don’t know what does.
Growing up with someone who has more life challenges than most was definitely my sister’s destiny, as she now has a son with autism. She has already been prepared with a lifetime of her own memories. These memories show her how to give her son all the love he needs to succeed in life. My sister also knows how to advocate for what her son needs, because she’s seen my mom and me fight for my services for so many years.
If I wasn’t thankful for all the love from the special people in my life, I would tragically be a fool. All of this love makes the bleak snapshots of my life fade into the background. I want to share the exciting unwritten chapters of my life with them.
Think about which people in your life have helped make your bad memories seem unimportant. When you figure that out, the future will belong to you and your loved ones even more!
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.