- For the Love of Laverne
- By JOHN LIAU
- The 61st Missouri Photo Workshop / Festus & Crystal City, Mo.
Laverne Austin, a 65 year-old widow, takes more than 20 pills a day due to multiple sclerosis. She has also developed visual impairment, numbness in her body, and knee problems because of her debilitating disease.
Despite the inner demons she struggles with every day, she wakes up at five in the morning to a house full of laughter, crying, and fighting family members who turn to her for advice and comfort. She is the matriarch of her family and those around her, and her kitchen table and bedroom transform into a literal therapy room.
Her illness hasn’t slowed her down as her younger brothers and their families have moved temporarily into her small house. She remains upbeat and positive about her life. “I ask God not to let anything or anyone steal my joy away for the day,” says Laverne.
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