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Why My Mother Has Been My Greatest Ally as a Person With a Disability

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My mother is a hardworking women. She is not perfect, as she often expresses, but to me she gets pretty damn close. I know that no matter what I do, she will always help me to the absolute best of her abilities. More than anything, she is always there for me when I need her. She was my nurse 24  hours a day, seven days a week through all the months that I spent in the hospital. Not once did she leave my bedside. Never once did I ever hear her complain.

All my life, my mother has been my greatest ally. My father took the cautious approach to raising a child with a disability. I do not blame him for this; fear can affect the best of us and it was simply his method of making sure I wouldn’t get hurt. Every time I expressed interest in a new hobby, my father was quick to shut it down, saying whatever I wanted to do was just too risky considering my impairments. How could I swim with only one functional arm? How would I go away to summer camp and pee in the woods with only one leg?

I was always adamant about what I wanted and I am extremely lucky that my mother and I shared the same spirit and enthusiasm for life. She would advocate to my father on my behalf. I participated in so many activities and gained wonderful experiences thanks to her belief in me. I went on to be a camp counselor and swim competitively at the national level. I know that without my mother, these dreams would never have materialized.

One memory that stands out vividly is when during a particularly hard time in my life, struggling with a lot of physical and emotional pain, I decided to self-medicate. She never once judged me or chastised me for my actions, but instead came to me with the most immense compassion and strength, telling me over and over again how much she loved me, no matter what I thought of myself.

My mother’s life has not been easy. She has seen her fair share of sorrows and setbacks, but I have never seen anyone else handle their struggles with such grace.

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Thinkstock photo by Nadezhda1906.

Originally published: May 15, 2017
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