A Letter to My 7 Children, From Your Mom With Chronic Illness

For my children,

I pined for you. From the moment that stick turned pink, I imagined my life being so full of laughter, fun, family times, movies, games and vacations.

Alas, chronic illness has taken hold of me. There are days you ask to go to the park. Days you beg to go for a smoothie, days you ask me to play with you.

So many of these days, I cannot. Please know this is not your fault. It is not my fault. We didn’t ask for this, we didn’t deserve it.

But, we love each other. That is what matters. We may fight, we may argue, but deep down, we all love one another so deeply.

I regret that I cannot do the things “normal” mothers do. But as you grow try to remember the times I did. The times I pushed myself so hard, beyond the pain, just to see you smiling at the swing set, the park, the trips to Sedona, sitting outside the garage riding bikes, playing a video game.

I would do anything to reverse this. I would do anything to make you happy, see you smile, make you giggle.

Remember that I am human, I have faults. I cannot be super mom, but there are days that I feel like it. Days that I want so desperately to stay in bed because the pain is so bad, but every day I get up and do what I can for you.

line of 8 kids in dining room
Katie’s children

But most of all, thank you for loving me even through my illness. Loving me even though I can’t always do what you want me to do. Loving me even though I break a promise. Loving me even though I may not always show my love to you.

I know you are young and cannot possibly understand my suffering. But please know my only mission in life is for you to be happy. For you to grow up, love who you want, be who you want, do what you want. I don’t want any of you to suffer. I don’t want any of you to experience pain. If I could save you from a world of pain, I would, instantly.

You are my world. If it wasn’t for you, I would not exist. I would be an empty shell of a person. You have not only saved my life, but made my life worth living.

Just know that on days where I can’t do what you ask, it is not out of meanness, or laziness, or because I don’t like you. It is because of the pain I suffer with. It is not your fault, and some day, the day I am well, I will make it all up to you. I will give you the moon, the sun and the stars.

“You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you…That’s where I’ll be waiting.” — J.M. Barrie, “Peter Pan”

I’m trying. So hard. Please forgive me and remember that I love you unconditionally.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us one thing your loved ones might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. What would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

*Sign-up for our Chronic Illness Newsletter*

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Chronic Illness

To the People Who Say My Daughter's Chronic Illness Doesn't 'Define Her'

Many in the chronic illness community may disagree with my opinion, but I truthfully do not like the statement often spoken about my daughter, “At least she doesn’t let her illness define her.” I know people mean well and are saying it in a supportive way, but I believe it is categorically wrong if you [...]
woman in hospital waiting room checking her watch

When Most of Your Time With Chronic Illness Is Spent Waiting

I have heard before that when some people find out a person living with invisible illness does not work, or works less than others, they think, “Oh, how lucky!” If you have ever thought this, or if you wonder what it is we do with all our time, here is the answer: We wait. It’s true that [...]

March Madness, Chronic Illness and Unpredictability

March Madness isn’t a thing I would know about if it wasn’t for my oldest, Hayden. But brackets are the air he breathes all month long. It’s important to him that I fill out brackets for him to track and talk smack about. Out of my great love for him, I oblige. Knowing nothing about [...]

When the Voice in My Head Says I Can’t Be Happy With Chronic Illness

Dear me, I know it’s hard. You’ve been fighting this battle practically your whole life and “exhausted” doesn’t even begin to describe how you feel. You are never a burden for needing extra help or support — the only person who believes you are a burden is you. You are such a brave person and you [...]