A patchwork of scars

At one time in my life I worked as a seamstress. My mother was an incredible artist with fabric and passed her skills on to me. She taught me to embroidery, applique, darn and design clothing. Although I never perfected my skills to match hers, I was still quite savvy with a needle and thread.

I can remember walking through the fabric store and seeing bolt after bolt of fabric lined up in neat little rows. Some of the fabrics were bright and soft while others were dark and itchy. With a little bit of imagination, a lot of patience and some well crafted skills, a piece of velvet could be turned into a ball gown; a few yards of broadcloth could be used to make a blouse; and a section of vinyl could upholster a chair. The possibilities were endless.

After navigating through the beautiful rows of fabric, normally tucked away in the back corner of the store sat a bin that was always a bit disheveled and overflowing with odd pieces of fabric. These were the leftovers from the bolts of fabric in the front of the store; fabric that was too small to make into a pair of pants yet could still be used for something…only most people couldn’t figure out exactly what that something was.

Most people would walk right past that bin on their way to the satins and velvets, not even giving it a thought. Others would poke around pulling at something that caught their eye, only to realize that the piece they pulled out wasn’t quite what they were looking for and toss it back into the pile.

But there were those who would spend great amounts of time digging through the different pieces of fabric in search of that hidden treasure they needed to finish their creation. These discarded scrap pieces of fabric were called “remnants.”

Our view of a remnant is something to toss to the side and throw away, but a remnant according to Webster’s dictionary is “a remaining fragment; a small surviving group of people.” Wow! A small surviving group of people? I think those of us with MS fit into that category quite nicely.

Don’t ever think of yourself as worthless because you are far from it. You are a remnant. You are a survivor! You are a patchwork of scars filled with strength, resilience and courage.

No matter what level of disability you are facing, no matter how quickly MS is progressing in your body, no matter how foggy headed or forgetful you become, no matter how insignificant you think you are, you have been given this life to live…so live it! Square your shoulders back, hold your head up high and BE a remnant.

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About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

16 replies
  1. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    That’s a great way of looking for us. It’s nice to be a remanent and we are from the worlds point of view.They can’t see us as being a useful societies members but we ARE. I have tried my hand at a lot of things since being diagnose and it has been and still is an interesting journey

  2. Angie Marsh says:

    I would like to share something that truly inspired me. Its a short video called Catching Kayla. This young lady was diagnosed with MS very young but watch this video and see what her attitude is. Amazing

      • Jennie Johnson
        Jennie Johnson says:

        Thanks to my folks and MS doctor I’m going to try some other kind of art/craft since I can no longer draw/paint because MS effects my right side. Fortunately I spent hours, days, years with my daughter who is quite an artist now.

        I love the sofa you have pictured. I’ve seen a manufacturer who makes them, but my memory stinks…LOL! Oh yeah! I just remembered…Joybird makes similar sofas, if you ask them to use the swatches, which I keep forgetting to do. Ha ha?

  3. Leah
    Leah says:

    To pay for college, I worked in a fabric store in the summer. I loved measuring out yards…which were eventually switched to metres…of fabric for customers. Bolts of fabric were stacked on shelves which I would tug at to cut for the client. I remember how beautiful the textiles were;
    French lace, taffeta, organza, raw silk, they all stood out with their magnificent colours. I too, recall that section of the store that had a bin of remnants that folks would scour through. I’d go through it myself to find pieces to make scarves with that I would give to my grandma to sew for me. Finding a real nice piece of fabric was like finding a gem…a diamond in the rough which is what I’d compare us MS’ers to. Thanks for letting me reminisce.:)

  4. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    Haha! I’m one of those who look through every one of those remnants! I like that I have endless possibilities as a remnant myself! Thank you Penelope. Have a great day everyone, together we make a great patchwork quilt as remnants, a beautiful group!

  5. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    That’s lovely Penelope thank you for that. And I love that pic of that couch its gorgeous.

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