To My Mother, Who Battled Chronic Illness Before Me


It’s been almost six months since I came home from college. I can’t believe how fast time flies. Within that short period of time, I have been blessed to become incredibly close to my mother. I used to wonder if I did the right thing, leaving college in the middle of the semester to come home for my health. I know now, without a doubt, I did.

My mother is an incredible woman. Words cannot express how highly I esteem her, and always will. Lately, I’ve had the precious opportunity to read some of her old journals that she kept as a teenager, young adult, and young mother. Through reading her beautiful writings I have learned so much about her that I never knew before, and I now see my mother in a greater light. I understand her better. I know where she came from, and how she was carefully sculpted into the incredible woman that she is now. Even when she was young, she had a stunning light about her that she carried with her everywhere she went, and still does to this day.

When I was little, I used to think that my mother was perfect. I believed that she knew everything, and I wondered how she got that far. As a young girl, I always carefully crafted my actions after her. I wanted to be just like her, and I wanted her wisdom to somehow rub off on me. My mother gracefully raised six children in a home of love and righteousness, and even though we’ve all entered into adulthood, she still continues to raise and love us. Home was always a safe haven for me, and still is, because of the wonderful atmosphere that my mother created.

As I grew up, and learned a little more about life, I came to know that my mother is not perfect, but that she strives everyday to be the incredible woman I believe God intends for her to be. I feel great gratitude and appreciation that I was sent to such an amazing woman, whom I get the privilege of calling my mother.

My mom has been sick lots of times. Ever since I was little, I can remember a large number of doctor’s appointments, hospital runs, and hospitalizations. Doctors never had the answers for us. There was no drug, no procedure, and no surgery that could make her better. As a family, we took the good days and weeks as they came, and stood in bewilderment and discouragement at the days that were bad. We never knew what to do, until it got so bad that we had no choice but to figure it out.

During my junior and senior year of high school, my mother was bedridden and in an indescribable amount of pain. There were so many endless nights that we thought we were going to lose her, but we didn’t. I thought I wanted to understand, and I wanted to be there for her, but the reality of it was that back then, I didn’t know how to be there for her in a proper manner. I didn’t understand the debilitating pain she was in 24/7, or the emotional trauma that took place.

Claire and her mother in front of a waterfall
Claire and her mother

I had no idea how excruciating and unbearable physical pain can be. I was oblivious to the hurt that overtook her body and soul. When you have a chronic illness, you do not just feel physical pain, but you hurt mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The hurt engulfs your entire body and soul in every way possible, and there is no way to escape it, other then to wait it out. How do you wait out unbearable pain? How do you find the patience for that? How do you survive? How do you keep fighting? How do you resist temptation? How do you overcome in such circumstances? I never realized how nearly impossible all of those things are to do, until now. And despite the near impossibility, my mother did it, and still continues to with beauty and grace, every day of her life.

My mother works hard, she never quits, and she never gives up on what she knows to be true. When I was little I always wanted to be like her, and that hasn’t changed. I see my mother in a completely different light than I did when I was young, but it’s a light that only keeps getting stronger and stronger.

So to my mother:

Mom,

Thank you for all you’ve done for me. Thank you for raising me to be the woman that I am, for consistently putting up with me, and never giving up on me.  Thank you for being an incredible example. You never stopped fighting, and you still continue to fight your disease. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for making me want to keep going now that I’m hurting, too. Thank you for helping me every step of the way. I love you, and I can only hope that someday I am even half the woman, wife, and mother that you are.

Sincerely,

Your Loving Daughter

Follow this journey on Chronically Beautiful.

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