Steps I Took to Bring Joys Back Into Our Home

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by Lori Dunham |

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Living with a chronic illness, or caring for a loved one with a chronic illness, can often be overwhelming. When our 17-year-old daughter, Grace, was diagnosed with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) at age 14, everything else in life was seemingly pushed aside. Instead of having a multidimensional life, we had one dimension, and that was LEMS. It dominated our conversations, home, and life.

Of course, when you are facing a giant battle, all energy and resources naturally get poured into it. However, my life was consumed by it. My emotions reflected it. It seemed I could think of nothing else.

One day, my eyes were opened to the blanket of depression that had hung over our home since our daughter’s diagnosis. I understood that I was the biggest influencer of my home’s culture, and something had to change.

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I was teaching my children how to respond to a crisis with a defeatist attitude. Instead, I wanted them to know how to fight. They needed to know how to approach another day that does not look the way they thought it would look.

I made a conscious decision to lighten the atmosphere. I wanted life to bubble up and overflow inside the walls of our home once again. My desire was for our home to be a bright light for all who entered. A place of hope and rest.

I couldn’t change my daughter’s diagnosis, but I could change how we responded to it.

So I began, very intentionally, to cultivate a culture of beauty and hope. For our family, that meant bringing music back into the home. Before Grace got sick, we had music playing all the time. We danced around the kitchen as I made dinner, and the girls were always playing the piano, violin, or Spotify.

However, somewhere along the way, the music stopped. Silence, more often than not, filled our home. It was stagnant.

The second thing I brought back into our home was flowers. Whether it was a small handful of wildflowers picked on a walk or a store-bought bouquet, I found the fragrance and beauty inviting. The aroma of fresh flowers reminded us all of the hope we have. Beauty from ashes.

Some days I lit a candle; others I pointed out a beautiful sunset. I began to look beyond the immediate circumstances of Grace’s health and cultivated a welcoming atmosphere of beauty, hope, and healing.

Whether it’s gardening or music, literature or art, all of these things have the potential to bring much-needed joy and beauty into our homes. I realized I not only appreciated these things, I craved them. I desperately needed them to lift my eyes from the hard and take some time to focus on the good instead.

So today I turn the music up loud and throw open the windows to fill our home with fresh air. I light a candle and point out the wildlife running through our backyard. It’s going to be a good day.

What brings you joy and lightens your days? Fill your life with that one thing today.


Note: Lambert-Eaton News 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 Lambert-Eaton News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Lambert-Eaton myasthenia syndrome.

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