Philadelphia Mom Who Is Going Blind Writes Children's Book About Using Laughter to Cope With Loss
Regina Papale Mullen is going blind. She has written a children's book for her son, and other kids, about using humor to cope with adversity.
A rare disease is stealing the eyesight of Philadelphia mom Regina Papale Mullen, but it hasn't taken her sense of humor.
The former child psychologist has been losing her sight since she was 15, and as the disease worsened, she sat down to write a children's book to help her young son, and others like him, to deal with adversity and loss.
"My Sixth Sense" will be published June 1, and features illustrations by Mickey Bissell.
Mullen has been living with Stargardt disease for 30 years.
"It's the juvenile onset of macular degeneration, so it's a different form of macular degeneration," Mullen told Inside Edition. It's very, very rare." Her grandfather, she said, was completely blind, though other members of her family were able to avoid the condition.
Through every stage of her sight-ending journey, being able to laugh helped lead her to the ultimate destination of accepting her lot in life.
"Having almost another stage beyond acceptance, which was humor for me, really helped keep me grounded in the acceptance stage," she said.
And there were several very funny spots on her journey.
Like the time she was screaming her head off at her son's Little League baseball game. The protagonist in her book is named after her boy, Ignatius.
"I was yelling his name, like, 'Come on, Nace. Hit it hard, blah, blah, blah.' And the next thing you know, I feel a tap on my shoulder, and he's like unaffected, nonchalant. 'Mom, that's not me,'" she recounted.
"I'm like, 'Oh, OK, no worries!'"
Ignatius has already learned to cope with his mother's disability, which includes not being able to witness his tears.
"He put his finger to his eye to show me. He put it on my face to show me there was a tear coming down his face," she said. "It was just so moving. And I'm like, that is the type of thing that he understands, that I can't see, so I can't read his expressions."
For Inside Edition, Ignatius read a passage from his mother's book that he finds particularly funny. Like most every kid, any mention of poop is most hysterical.
"I fumbled through this story and I must have read the wrong word. The sentence made no sense, but I thought it said turd. The T was a B, and the U was an I. Oh, no. It said bird. A turd cannot fly," Ignatius read aloud.
"I hoped no one heard me. But what happened after, first snickers and snorts, then roaring with laughter. Then my sixth sense of humor taught me something new. You can't laugh at me if I'm laughing with you," the passage concluded.
And with that, Ignatius smiled a very big smile.
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