Today, I look back through vague but wonderful memories, memories of childhood, memories my mother and I share. I remember playing games, cards and putting together puzzles which I still have stored in my attic. Did you ever know that "I Love Lucy" reruns were on at 3: 00 a.m.? On occasion I would run downstairs and wake my mom, who already knew that I had had a bad dream, and we'd watch together. She was very comforting. She showed alot of affection not only for me, but also for my brother and sister. All of us have experienced the same happiness our mother brought to our lives.
In 1992 my best friend's mother died of cancer. It was a tragedy, but as usual, my mother used her power of healing and got his family back on their feet. I remember she cooked for the grieving husband and sulking kids for two weeks. If you asked my friends (or the community) about my mother, they would say, "That woman has a heart of gold." I agree one-hundred percent.
I think the reason she is such a wonderful person is because the Holy Spirit resides within her. She is very holy and has persuaded me to go to church with her every Sunday for as long as I can remember. She belongs to the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) which gives people the opportunity to become part of the Catholic religion.
About six years ago my mom decided that she wanted to pursue her lifelong goal of becoming a teacher. She knew it would be hard work raising three kids, doing housework, and studying at the same time. Nevertheless, in the long run, she believed it would pay off. What my mother didn't realize was that not all things pay off in this unfair world. After four hard, dedicated years of school, she graduated on a warm spring day. It was somehow better than perfect. It was unbelievable. My aunt and her family drove up from Virginia to celebrate this fantasic day. It was the first time I ever cried from being happy.
It's bizarre how fast a life can change. Two months later, the unpredictable happened. My mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 44. This made me sick. I could not believe after all the good she had done for people, this could happen. This was the hardest time for me. I was very confused and cried every day. My faith in God just about disappeared, and so did my mom's dream of becoming a teacher. In my mind this tragedy didn't only affect my family, but the entire community.
Today, I watch my mom who is full of boredom and depressed. Every day she takes pills that help her function. Since there is no cure, she can only pray for a miracle. Pray, that is what I do all night and day. Somehow I still feel helpless because there is nothing I can do, especially after all she has done for me. I cannot just sit here and watch her mind and body suffer. As the days go by, she gets worse and worse. If you ever saw your mother have daily spasms, how would you feel? She is not the same person. She used to be able to remember everything, but now her memory is fading.
Multiple Sclerosis is a very serious disease that is desperate for a cure. It slowly kills by affecting the nervous system. I just wish I could tell my mother that everything will be okay like she used to tell me when I had a nightmare or the chicken pox. These past two years have been rather difficult. My dad had to get another job (as a limousine driver), so Friday and Saturday nights he is working. I wanted to go out with friends, but didn't want to leave my mother alone. I always would worry about her.
Then, I decided I must move on with my life and accept the fact that she might never get better. Since my decision, I have become more mature, responsible, and active in school and work. I feel less obligated to stay home on Friday and Saturday nights. I have found a wonderful girlfriend with whom I plan to spend the rest of my life. I have overcome the hardest obstacle I believe I would ever have to face - accepting that my mother is slowly dying. Through the years I have always been able to change negative situations into positive ones. At the moment, I'm happy with my life.
Today, I am a hard-working young man who understands that achieving success in life is the best tribute I can offer to the woman who has played such a big part in shaping who I have become. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.