By Cameron Posey
Lillian M. Forbes stood teary-eyed before an attentive gathering on December 7, 2019, recounting her hard-fought battle with lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease where the human immune system attacks healthy tissues in the body and damages the kidneys, skin, and various other organs.
Set against an historic backdrop in The African American Heritage Society of Charles County, located in La Plata, Maryland, Forbes also shared what moved her to put it all in her 2018 memoir, titled, The Storm Unseen: A Memoir of Life with Lupus.
In 1994, news of the dreadful diagnosis was delivered to Forbes, while she was eight month’s into her pregnancy with her second child. It also threatened the life of her baby.
For more than a decade, the disease crippled her physically and mentally.
“Everything about who I was and what I looked like for so long disappeared from my life. I did not want people to see the real me, and what I had become at this time of my life,” Forbes recorded in her memoir.
During her presentation, she recalled being unable to take care of her children, and even contemplating suicide at some point. Her blessing eventually came when she had a kidney transplant provided by her own nephew.
Her audience, listening intently, encouraged her through prayerful words as she described the relief she had when she received the healing she’d been praying for so long. Today, she looks the picture of health. Her hair, once lost to chemotherapy, hangs to her shoulders, styled in beautiful curls. The scars, she developed over the years, battling the illness, are not recognizable when she smiles and greets people.
In her memoir, Forbes uses her journey with lupus to describe how her faith in God gave her hope when she had none. Her purpose for this book, she explained, is to inspire and encourage those who are dealing with similar experiences.
The Storm Unseen: A Memoir of Life with Lupus by Lillian Makle Forbes can be found on Amazon.
The African American Heritage Society of Charles County, Inc. honored Makle Forbes for her life achievements. The organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that fosters public awareness and understanding of the African American way of life. Their mission is to share the cultural and historical contributions of African Americans to the growth and development of Southern Maryland and the nation.
The African American Heritage Society of Charles County, Inc centers itself as a cultural learning center that promotes tourism within Charles County and the Southern Maryland region. It is located at 7485 Crain Highway, La Plata, Maryland.