I am a wedding photographer based in Fresno, CA. For the past 3 years I have been capturing adventurous love stories and helping others feel loved and supported throughout their wedding experience. If there isn't a camera in my hand, you would find me watching Friends or The Office, eating Chick-fil-A, and hanging our with my hubby and puppy.
July 2020 marked 23 years. Twenty-three years of anger, frustration, happiness, tears, love, memories, and miracles. My mom was diagnosed with ALS 23 years ago.
What is ALS? Good question, because sometimes I don’t fully understand it. More commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, it is “a disease affecting motor neurons of the spinal cord, which causes progressive weakness and atrophy of muscles.” It affects people differently, but it ultimately attacks the lungs. There is no cure.
My mom, Ronda Morris, was 31 years old, with a loving husband and two daughters under the age of four when she heard of the devastating news that she would only live two more years. The doctor wasn’t the most gentle with this news and it tore my mom’s world apart. Imagine knowing you wouldn’t be able to see your daughters grow up, never being able to walk again and be completely dependable on others. Enter in depression and lots of tears. Ronda was a teacher at the time but had to step down due to fatigue and falling. She stayed at home with me while Jenna went to school.
Then one summer we attended family camp (Sugar Pine Christian Camp) and my mom decided to get anointed at the healing service. Of course, I was too young to understand anything, but I do remember hearing my mom cry a lot. She eventually told me that day, she truly was healed. She felt God’s hands on her and all of her weighted burden of sadness, anger, and fear was lifted. Since that day, my mom has let go and let God. She’s been growing in her faith and inspiring others to follow Jesus with her story. It truly is a miracle that she is still alive and doing well 23 years later.
Insert me and my story growing up with having a mom in a wheelchair.
Growing up, I never noticed my mom was in a wheelchair. In fact, it was cool! She let me ride in her lap or on the back. It made the other kids jealous! Then around the age of eight or so, I started to notice the stares or those looks in stores or on the pool deck. I thought that was weird because my mom was like every other mom out there! She was loving, kind, smart, funny, and compassionate.
She planned my bridal shower AND my wedding and even got to watch me get married! And soon-ish (like 3 years hopefully) she’ll hold my baby. These are the milestones that mean so much to me and our family.
Every day is a new blessing and gift to be alive. Every milestone deserves the biggest praise. Our family never takes this life for granted because of my mom having ALS. We appreciate the gift God has given us every day and we praise Him for the blessings He has given us.
Now my mom is my business manager and she’s amazing!! I don’t know what I’d do without her! She helps in any way she can and still manages to make me feel loved every day even though we live farther apart now. I hope you feel inspired by my mom because she is my hero. She never gave up and continued to persevere through the pain physically and mentally. I hope someday I can be as strong as her.
I love you mom, to the moon and back.