There are a few events that have occurred between our daughter and myself I will never forget as long as my mind functions. The first time she called me Mama, out-of-the-blue with no provocation. The first time she told me she loved me after I became her legal mother. The day our adoption was finalized. And now, when she handed me the poem below written as a classroom assignment.
My being disabled means we function differently than an average family. Daily there are struggles around simple things and tasks. Life would be easier if financially we could afford some things, like a better wheelchair, a roll-in shower, a handicap accessible kitchen and a way I could come and go on my own.
Then there’s the pain and unending swelling of my entire body that means little I do isn’t painful. Simply brushing my teeth and hair hurts. Fluid collects and to the point it pours out of any weak point on my skin and I soak through layers and layers of towels and pads, for days, even weeks.
A few years ago the doctors were straight with me. We could amputate the leg where the numerous infections and blood clots occurred repeatedly, trying to get above all the lymph node damage or I could count on the next severe episode ending my life.
It was a choice. A difficult choice. But we decided to go with the amputation, it gave me the best hope of seeing our daughter grow up. Seeing our daughter grow up was important to me but increasing the chances my death would not appear as abandonment to her was vital.
I’ve wrestled with my choice more times than I can count. In private, away from our daughters eyes, I’ve questioned whether or not she is better off with me still here.
I’ve seen her eyerolls when I ask her to help me. Bore her words of frustration when my manual wheelchair won’t go in the car right. Tried to disappear so I didn’t stand out as different at her school events.
Until today I thought she was ashamed of me. Embarrassed by my disability and the unkind and hateful things strangers mutter as they witness my struggle.
Now I know, underneath all of her eyerolls, huffs, and pre-teen attitudes she thinks I am brave. Which makes me want to be. So I offer this prayer, “Lord, please help me be brave, for You, our daughter, my husband and myself. You’ve done great this far, let’s finish the race. Amen.”