Then & now

While events on the political world stage the last few months weren’t exactly vivacious or dignified, a lot has happened in and outside my own colourful, little Irish bubble also.

I didn’t have a foul-mouthed Donald Trump breaking down my every word, but I equally didn’t have an eloquent Obama and Air Force One to drag me away from crime-ridden, questionable places. “Life,” in a way was, just like Einstein once said, “like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

Even while moving, however, at times I felt the pedals slip from under my feet, resulting in losing balance mid-air. Ungracefully, so.

In short, I had to say goodbye to three people who departed quite abruptly, making memorials all the harder to handle. Funeral rituals in Ireland are somewhat different from what they’re like in Belgium, and going through it made it emotionally harder to digest.

Those who passed away would be annoyed that we’re not laughing anymore over hilarious times together, so I try to honour their wish as best I can. As I came to grips with it, I realised that nobody gains anything from me writing about every scar, hence the deafening silence on my blog the last few months.

But, life goes on.

And it has.

14391009_10154664541324866_8614500284305374455_nAs a writer, the happiest event was winning the Volunteer of the Year award with the bloggers of the Irish MS Society community blog, awarded by people with MS, their family members and friends in Ireland.

In a separate event, both the MS Society’s blog as well as my own were finalists in the Ireland Blog Awards. Sadly, we left empty-handed but in the knowledge, that being a finalist was an amazing feat either way.

Following that, I hit writer’s block faster than you can say ‘ABC’. That writer’s block has reached the ‘XYZ’ stage, so I’m nearing a muse that sounds, tastes and smells like coffee.


Where I am funnily always full of ideas.

Away from notebooks and pens, I scrapped another item from my bucket list in September: seeing and touching wolves up close and personal, and it has enriched my life substantially. After a week-long holiday to Rome earlier this year which resided high on top of my bucket list, seeing that list getting shorter again, means that I am doing something with a life that wasn’t meant to be curtailed by an unasked for, unwanted illness.

As you can tell, the deafening blogging silence had “Life” stamped all over it. I am the kind of person who wants to say the following when I am on my death-bed, “Bloody hell, I went through some pretty crazy physical stuff but at least I made life my own and I made my dreams come true!” as opposed to having to say “Oh, dear lord, can I please start over as I regret I didn’t do this or that, because I was too lazy to chase my dreams!”

My life continues to revolve around advocacy for people with disabilities and for those with MS. Facial pain jumped on the brakes a couple of times making me miss a few, but I hope this will not be the case in 2017 as I hope to finally get better trigeminal pain relief.

As Christmas and New Year are getting closer, I can only be thankful for the friendships that remained, new ones that appeared out of the blue as well as old family bonds that grew stronger this year.

So, please, if you are wondering if my blog is near its end, let me assure you that it’s not. It is far from, and I have some ideas on what to add next year. Your support over the past few years has been immeasurable, so I owed it to you to let you know why there has been little to no action on IMSM the past few months.

I admit that the lack of replies to comments wasn’t my best move either, but I am back and buzzing around here from now on.


© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2016. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

7 thoughts on “Then & now

  1. I also ask myself about life. Why do I want to keep hanging on to it when each new day seems to bring more misery than the day before? Life is the greatest thing ever, THAT is all I can come up with. Highly educated people talk about the qualities of life. Do they have any idea of what quality of life all boils down to? My quality of life is been deteriorating for over 50 years but I still love it, every minute of it. The doctors asked me, “are you sure you don’t want something for depression or for pain?” I continue to answer, ‘so far’ I’m going to do it my way and I can’t even begin to describe what my way is! I just bull-headedly bulldoze along with each new day. I find I learn new things and I surprise myself with what an old worn-out body can still do.

    I know your life has been a very testing trying life also and I wish you all the best and I hope you can continue on for many more years. The only reason I’m blogging it gives me something to look forward to each day. I make myself crawl out of that old bed and try to keep my mind working as best I can. I only hope I can share something that will make someone else’s day a little bit easier and a little bit brighter and maybe more hopeful.

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