Believe in yourself…
This was a constant theme that my mother always wanted me to achieve – the belief that I was capable, worthy, kind, and full of love. Her belief in me kept me filled with a desire to move forward. She believed in me even when I had no strength to believe. I never understood how she was able to so strongly believe in my ability to go on, and fulfill a desirable life.
My hope has disappeared many times. The turmoil of my mind encompasses me at times, and I’m unable to see the joy around me – or anything around me, for that matter. The trials of living with a mental illness (such as Bipolar) and the walk of a bumpy road that knocks you down quite frequently is exhausting to not only the one with the illness, but also to the loved ones.
My mother no matter where her mind was, her physical illnesses were, or how personally emotional and tired she was, she unbelievably was able to put herself aside and focus on others needs. She was truly a woman that was filled with unselfishness, and loved with all her being. I recall her fight with a brain hemorrhage when it was thought that she would not to be able to survive. After a fall down the stairs, she was flown from New Hampshire to Boston Mass General Hospital. Her struggle and fight to live was extraordinary. She achieved the ability to once again think clearly, walk again, laugh, and be joyous – as she was always capable of doing, no matter the circumstances. I was told she would never feed herself again. Yet she achieved this through persistence. I was able to follow her conversation, though I was told this was impossible. She began to tell me how I needed to write my memoirs. How is it that she could focus on me when her own life was in such turmoil. She was to me beyond the epitome of grace.
She died almost one year after that fall. It was not the hemorrhage that took her life. It was a struggle with blood cancer that she was filled with that took over. She was even in hospice and understood the depth of her disease, and she was continuing to Believe. Her strength amazed me.
I recall a few days before her dying that we had a conversation. She was more scared for me than she was for herself when she died. She had no idea how I would make it through. Come to find out she had made MANY people promise to take care of me. (Doesn’t surprise me). However to give her some peace during that time, though it was extremely hard for me to do, I told her that when she died I would be OK – though even I had trouble believing that. She was surprised that I was saying that and said to me, “Am I that sick?”. I explained that she had a lot going on, and she understood. But I do know that the peace of hearing that I would be OK helped ease her soul. She peacefully died a few days later with me and my brother at her side.
I was going through a few of her things a few days later and found among many cards that she had bought, this one that struck me as being for me. It was not signed though it brought me strength and I felt that it was her love beside me. I knew this with all my heart.
Believe in yourself…
…and never, ever give up.
I told her that I would be OK. It is on my hard days that I have the strongest fight of all.
Mom, I love you with all my heart.