Today is a very special day.
Because today is my mom’s birthday.
Let me tell you a bit about my mom:
This is the woman who dedicated her life to making me feel less lonely.
Last year, when my condition was deteriorating and the HS had become very serious, I felt more alone than ever. My mom was the only person who understood how defeated and lonely I felt, and she spent every minute of every day making sure I knew I wasn’t alone. She was there for every dressing change. She saw every open wound. She witnessed every moment of excruciating pain. She kissed every scar.
The woman who gave me a reason to live.
I was exhausted from dealing with the constant pain and heartache from this horrifying disease. In a moment of desperate honesty, I told my mom that I couldn’t live this way, and that death sounded like sweet relief from what my life had become. While listening to her baby daughter give up on life, she decided to fight more fiercely than ever to replenish my will to live.
The woman who gathered enough strength for two people.
I may seem strong now, but that is because of the strength my mother poured into me when I was at my weakest. My lack of physical strength drained me of my mental strength as well, but my mom’s strength did not waver even for a moment. She knew that her weakness would break me, and she was not going to let that happen.
The woman who taught me to laugh through pain.
Instead of crying every day while I dressed my lesions, she would sit with me and find ways to laugh at them and talk about them as though they were individual people. We even named each of them and said that they were my little children. What should have been a horrifying experience every day turned into a reason to bond and laugh together.
The woman who withheld her tears for the sake of her daughter.
Going through pain and difficulty is one thing, but watching someone you love deteriorate and experience pain is much, much worse. I have healed miraculously well and been able to move on with my life, but my mom will never be able to erase the images and sounds of her suffering daughter from her mind. She will never be able to forget the sleepless nights filled with the sound of my constant moaning and whimpering from the pain, even in my sleep. She will always see the blood pouring out of my body, the deep open wounds and severely damaged skin. She will forever hear the broken sobs of her baby girl who wanted nothing more than relief from the torturous pain. She will remember not being able to hold her daughter in her arms for months (it was too physically painful for me to hug anyone), even though all she wanted to do was provide comfort and love. She will also never let me know how hard this still is on her, and how heartbroken she will always be over what we have been through together.
This woman has given me so many reasons to celebrate my life.
But today, I celebrate hers.
I love you, Mom. You’re my hero.