As I sit down this morning to restart my social media, I feel compelled to share the story behind my month-long absence. Life has a funny way of changing our “why” – the driving force behind our actions. Sometimes it’s us who change, sometimes it’s life itself, and sometimes it’s the people around us who undergo profound transformations. As 2024 unfolded, it quickly revealed itself as a year of strength and resilience for my family, particularly my sister, Kim.

Nearly 30 years ago, Kim was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a condition that has gradually altered various aspects of her life – from her mind and appearance to her energy and ability to perform simple tasks. Despite the challenges, she maintains an incredible spirit, finding joy in the simplicity of life. While many would succumb to self-pity given her circumstances, Kim faces each day with humor and wit.

On January 17th, a routine surgery that she had undergone three times before took an unexpected turn. She went into septic shock, and by January 18th, she was on a ventilator. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I couldn’t be by her side until the 20th. In those two days, she teetered on the edge of life, surrounded by strangers. It was a stark reminder of life’s fragility, and I’m grateful to the strangers who saved her, even as guilt gnaws at me for not being there during those critical moments.

Kim remained in the hospital until February 14th, and during this time, I was by her side every single day. Conversations with doctors and nurses became a daily ritual, each one bringing a mix of heartache and hope. The medical prognosis seemed bleak – a tracheostomy, a nursing home, a feeding tube – a life vastly different from the one she had known. The decision to take her off the ventilator and let her go comfortably loomed over us. Yet, a sudden glimmer of hope emerged on February 3rd when she showed signs of improvement, breathing with minimal support.

A rollercoaster of emotions followed, leading to the decision to extubate on February 4th. Kim’s resilience shone through as she followed the medical team’s instructions, surpassing expectations. By the next morning, she was breathing without the aid of oxygen. Her journey from the ICU to a regular room marked a miraculous turnaround, defying the earlier grim predictions.

This experience has brought me full circle to my “why.” As a mother, I initially started my business to have the freedom to be present for my son. Now, as he navigates adulthood, my focus has shifted to my sister, who needs me more than ever. While she has a team of caregivers, I play a vital role in coordinating her medical appointments and ensuring her ongoing care.

Kim, my “baby sister” as she fondly calls herself, has become my hero. Her strength and gratitude inspire me daily. Despite the challenges she faces – unable to walk or feed herself – she embodies resilience. Doctors may have doubted her survival, but here she is, embracing each day with gratitude and humor. I remind her daily of the impact she has on my life, a sentiment she cherishes.

So, when life feels overwhelming, think of Kim. Amidst adversity, she radiates happiness and gratitude. Her story reminds us that things could be worse, urging us to find the silver lining, discover our “why,” and live life to the fullest. In her journey, I’ve found strength, inspiration, and a profound appreciation for the resilience that resides within us all.