Those who know me are aware that my mom died from Multiple Sclerosis when she was 48. There are folks who are relatively “lucky” when it comes to MS – having a few episodes every year or so, but generally able to lead a normal life. My mom wasn’t one of them. She was diagnosed when I was 10, but by the time I was in grad school she was spending most of her time in a wheelchair. She went from a vibrant woman, dancing with her sister on the weekends (when I was in high school) to a woman who couldn’t even stand on her own – someone even she didn’t recognize.
I hated talking to my mom about her being sick. I was terrible at accepting it or acknowledging that she was struggling. Being super strong, she didn’t really talk about it much either. She just accepted it and powered through, no matter how hard it was. And she was always there for me, no matter how sick she felt.
Being a mom now, I can understand how parents do that. You don’t want to show your children you are having a hard time. You want to be strong for them. You want to be the mom, no matter how much you need a mom yourself.
While sorting through boxes today, I found a poem my mom wrote not long before she died. I believed then, and still do, and that she knew it was coming. And from this poem it is clear that she was still having a hard time – as did I – making sense of the “her” that still thrived inside of her, and the one her body was representing. I have read this poem before, but it hits me like the first time each time I find it.