Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How I keep moving


Jennifer Mason

What a privilege and honor it has been to tell my story and to share my joys and struggles with the world through the “We Keep Moving” project. Never did I realize the impact that it would have on my family, friends and numerous others, most of whom I will never meet.

Telling my story encouraged me to keep moving forward. It would have been easy to give up, to allow others to take care of my basic needs and to stay in my wheelchair. After the cameras left, it seemed like walking was next to impossible without the aid of a walker, crutches or at some point a cane. But I wanted desperately to walk hand in hand with my soul mate, Blake. So instead of giving up, I chose instead to get up and learn to walk again, being the person I so desperately wanted to be.  Here’s how it happened:

I awoke one night to use the bathroom and started to get out of the bed.  Thankfully, my movements woke up Blake, or he would have found me once again on the floor. Just as I was about to fall, he grabbed the back of my shirt and asked in the sweetest voice, “and just where do you think you are going?” “To the bathroom” was my rough reply, then I sat back down and cried. Was I ever going to be normal again? Blake came around to my side of the bed, gently took my hand in his, and asked me to dance. He helped me back to my feet and gently glided me across the floor to the bathroom, where he waited patiently outside the door.

We then danced back to bed and he tucked me in - it was the beginning of many wonderful dances in the moonlight. Every night we danced and I would sing in his ear, “Can I have this dance for the rest of my life?” It might not have been the most beautiful thing to watch, but I felt like a princess as he danced me to my throne. That was the first step toward my walking unaided.

My daughter soon left for the Navy and I was determined that if she was going through boot camp, then so was I. Every morning I would write her a letter and walk it to the mailbox. Some of those walks took forever, but I did it, one step at a time.  If she could do it, I was going to endure the pain as well. Many days I needed a long nap after a short walk to the mailbox, but it was worth it. When she graduated, I stood at her graduation and cried tears of joy. We both had made it.

On April 23, 2010, Blake and I took a walk that had seemed impossible before. We packed our bags and headed to our favorite hiking trail in Letchworth State Park. As we hiked the stairs and hit our spot, we turned to each other and said our vows. What a beautiful day to celebrate life and our ability to overcome the impossible. What a beautiful day to “walk down the aisle” and marry my soul mate.

As this Thanksgiving approaches, my thoughts and thanks go to my family and friends foremost. Thanks for never giving up on me and for pushing me through and cheering me on. I will never take for granted the fact that I can walk again, and I will always rejoice in today.
What are you thankful for this holiday season?


  1. What a beautiful, touching story. I have a sister-in-law that has had MS for many years now and know first hand about this disease. That is a lie I now discover, no one knows first hand until you are the one with MS. Seems God gives them an added strength. Will keep praying for a cure.

  2. Aw....that was such an inspiring story. Bless you. The ones who are not affected by MS, don't think twice about getting up and walking. God bless you in your accomplishment to push forward. I will keep praying for a cure. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. what a great story. very touching and motivating to not take a single day for granted. you are a role model to many and im very lucky to have the opportunity to read your stories.

  4. Trying to have the strength u have to deal with all the stuff going on with my foot... Takin it one day at a time...wish u were here

  5. You have always been one of my best friends since we served together in the Navy at Newport, RI in the late 80's! My prayers always are with you and your family. You are one of the strongest ladies/friend I have, and am honored to call you my friend. I was lucky enough to have you (and Donn) share a part of your life with your first baby, Emily, of whom will always hold a special place in my heart. I look forward to the day I get to meet Blake and your other children. This video was AWESOME and just about brought me to tears and makes me realize the gifts I have been given by God and there is nothing I have gone through that can even compare. Keep your faith in God...and never give up my friend. Love you, Donna (Jacob & Jonathan)