Michelle Obama has recalled her father’s painful battle with multiple sclerosis in an emotional video, as she calls on Americans to vote – revealing he fought agonising pain and sickness to do it himself before his tragic death in 1991.
The former First Lady, 54, said her father Fraser’s health battle inspired her to vote and have her say in politics, revealing for the first time some of the toughest times they faced as a family.
“I grew up in a household where voting was just something you did all the time,” she said in the video. “My father, who had multiple sclerosis, I remember going to the polling place with him and how much effort it took for him to park his car, to get his crutches, to walk into the church basement in our local neighbourhood where he voted, and to stand there, holding himself up making sure he cast his ballot.
“I remember my father doing this exercise for every single election and not worrying about whether it was raining or snowing or whether he was tired.”
She shared the deeply personal video on Instagram, and went on to recall how he would struggle to get out of bed some days and get dressed.
“For him, voting was a sacred responsibility because he knew it was the only way to make his voice heard and ensure his values were represented in the halls of power. And that is especially true today in this upcoming election – and every election,” she wrote.
Michelle released her latest video to help launch the national voter registration initiative, When We All Vote, encouraging more people to get involved with politics and have their say.
It’s not the first time she’s spoken of her close relationship with her father, and she previously shared a loving memory on Instagram alongside a photo of them together.
Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing some photos and memories from my book, BECOMING. My father, Fraser, taught me to work hard, laugh often, and keep my word. My mother, Marian, showed me how to think for myself and to use my voice. Together, in our cramped apartment on the South Side of Chicago, my family helped me see the value in our story, in my story, and in the larger story of our country.
“My father, Fraser, taught me to work hard, laugh often, and keep my word,” she wrote at the time. “My mother, Marian, showed me how to think for myself and to use my voice. Together, in our cramped apartment on the South Side of Chicago, my family helped me see the value in our story, in my story, and in the larger story of our country.”
Meanwhile, she spoke about her father’s illness in 2012 in a chat with TV host David Letterman. She said at the time: “I never knew him to be able to walk, but my dad worked so hard and he loved us so much, and I think from him I learned just absolute, complete unconditional love, the notion that kids really don’t need anything but to know that their parents adore them.”