I write this as my first year at Boston University nears the end. It was an accomplishment made possible through your support, understanding during my uncertainty, and through that voice of reason you spoke during my struggles. You have always been my mother, and you refused to let the illness take that away from you. Your capacity for empathy has remained constant, and your love for your children unaffected. This undying love I will always remember.
During my first year at Boston, I often sat and thought of you two hundred miles west. I felt a sense of uselessness being so far away. It seemed as if you had worsened each time I returned home for a holiday—the result of some new symptom setting in. When we spoke on the phone, you did your best to conceal any new pain you felt, or further confusion in your mind. You raised the tone of your voice and laughed with me. You tried so hard—perhaps too hard—to ease the burden on everyone else.
I know within yourself you are enduring this illness alone. Although you receive much support from family and doctors, no one could ever understand what it’s like to be you, and go through what you endure every waking hour—the hell in your mind, and the gradual deterioration of your body.
In your former medical career, you came up from virtually nothing, made yourself into someone all through your own ability. Then, at the peak of your career, you had it all taken from you. Your life was stripped away at the age of 51—a tragedy unimaginable to the rest of us.
Once a registered nurse and director of a medical spa, you've often said you are the shell of the woman you used to be. You say you were once respected and loved by colleagues and friends, and that with the onset of this illness all those achievements vanished, and people somehow look at you with less admiration. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People admire you now more than ever. You carry on even though you understand the progression and eventual end of the illness. You put on a smile even when your mind is screaming. You have a special type of courage few people have the capacity to comprehend.
I know it is not for yourself that you endure this illness, but rather for the sake of the rest of us. You know we all need you. You are an angel in our eyes and a source of goodness in our world. The joy of conversation with your children, the viewing of the rolling hills and trees from our porch, the softness of your granddaughter’s smile—you live for these things and carry on because of them.
Through this illness, an inseparable bond between us has been created. A bond in which I was always supported me and always loved. A bond in which I was taught to be a kinder and more gentle individual. It is something I will always be grateful for.
Happy Mother’s Day and Much Love,