A Daughter's Perspective
of living with a chronically ill mother
We tend to worry, second guess ourselves, and wonder if we are doing the job of mothering well.
When you're dealing with a chronic illness your heart is often extra burdened with all of the things you're not doing for your children because you’re simply not physically able to.
There are many many moments where I've had to ask my children to expect a little less from me while I have required a lot more from them.
My daughter has recently written something that touched me deeply and her words highlighted that my worries are legitimate, I do ask a lot of my family and my children, and my daughter does see the things that I try to hide from her. Yet, she has a way of also seeing the brighter more positive side that is entwined in this illness and it’s effects.
She is also absorbing the lessons and the love that I have for her even when I am usure about it all.
I could not be more proud of my daughter and my family and am grateful everyday for all that they do for me and for each other.
I have asked her for permission to share her thoughts here with you. She was shy and hesitant but I am thrilled that she gave me the go ahead. Many of you have the same worries and concerns, the same feelings of not doing this mothering thing very well. Whether suffering from an illness or not we all have struggles and doubt as mothers.
I hope my daughter’s words can lift you up and encourage you.
Maybe we’re not doing such a terrible job after all?
Thomas Carlyle a Scottish philosopher once wrote, “Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement and impossibilities: it is this in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” This describes my mom perfectly, she has permanence; she is here to stay and she is so stubborn that she isn't leaving without her family or anything else that means anything to her. She has perseverance; after everything that my mother has been through she is still who she has always been; a loving, kind individual, who is without a doubt one of the strongest people I know. My mother has persistence; she is not giving up and I don't thing she ever will. After everything that she has been through; all of the obstacles and discouragement along the way, she has found a way to live and thrive with this chronic illness. She most certainly does not have a weak soul and this is one of the many reasons why I look up to her and admire her, she has an amazingly strong and driven soul.
I am going to be completely honest: living with my mom is not always easy, and it is more than just the whole mother-daughter feud. She has an illness that sometimes prevents her from doing everything that most mothers do; cooking dinner together, painting our nails together, or even just doing each other's hair (not that she doesn't try). Sometimes she has to sit down and just rest while I make dinner or do the dishes. But helping her is something that I know that I need to do not just because I am her daughter but because I love her and I want her to be happy and comfortable. I need to be there for her because that is something that I as her daughter am obligated to do, but it is not just that, I want to, it is something that I like doing. Knowing that I can help her so that she is not in as much pain. If there is one thing I have learned through all of this, it is that no matter what, you need to be there, whether it is to just listen while they are driving and need someone to vent to or if it is doing the dishes and making dinner or helping clean the house. These are all things that I should be doing anyway but knowing that I am helping her not be in as much pain I feel that it is much more fulfilling and it makes these things easier to do.
There are many ways that my mom has changed my life; she has taught me so much, she has shown me the light of the Lord, she has given me more courage and empowerment than I ever thought possible. She shows me every day how to be strong, present, and active in your faith and community. I have learned more from my mother than I think anyone could ever teach me. She has shown me so much through everything that she does. Even through all of her pain and frustration she is an active member at church who regularly volunteers and is quite social.
She has overcome so much, for me to see her succeed and be an amazing woman gives me so much hope and faith for the future.
Over the years that I have seen my mom constantly in pain I have discovered how important family is. Family is the key to everything, to achieving things that you never thought possible. To getting everywhere you never thought possible. Family can help get you through anything.
My mother has shown me the importance of having a strong faith. Through all of this she never settled on the fact that it is God punishing her, she may have landed there for a moment but she didn't stay there. She is active in the church, you have no idea how many times I have walked in the house and there is stuff sprawled all over the kitchen table for some event that she has been working on all day.
She has shown me that you need a strong foundation in God in order for you to be able to survive. Without her strong foundation I don't think that she would have gotten very far. My mom has showed me the importance of having a strong faith in the Lord.
There is not much that I can say to anyone that has a family member that is struggling with a chronic illness. You need to be there for them and be willing to see them when they are at their worst. You need to be there for them when they need you the most. You can't always tell that they are in pain. You need to see that and tell them to take a nap or sit down while you finish cleaning or doing the dishes. I can't tell you that it will be easy. It won't. You need to be strong for them until they can get their feet underneath them and be strong themselves. Being there for someone when they are at their weakest is one of the most fulfilling things that you can do. To be there for them when no one else can or will is the absolute best thing that you can do for them.
My moms chronic illness is one that you can't see, this makes it hard for me to be there for her. You don't know when her head feels like it is going to explode; you don't know that fingers hurt so bad that she can't feel what she's holding; you don't know when her stomach is turning in knots from eating a little bit of sugar. You can't see any of these things yet they still happen, you need to be able to have a sixth sense to know when you really need to be there.
Don’t assume that everything is better just because they look normal, there are so many things that you can't see. There are so many things that are happening that you don't know about and you can't just assume that they are ok. They usually aren't. You need to know that and be there for them.
Many people look up to their moms for trivial reasons; they don't say no or they don't ask for anything in return.
I see my mother as a hero and a role model because she has shown me the importance of family, faith, and perseverance. My mom has always been there for me and all of my family even though we know that she is going through so much. She never makes us feel guilty for not giving her as much attention she deserves. She is always there for us, no matter what.
She looks to the Word for instruction and guidance. She has shown me the importance of that; the importance of always looking to God for answers and sometimes questioning but also doing her best to follow.
Through everything my mom has shown me the importance of getting through the obstacles that are in front of you no matter what. She has proven to me that even though the course is tough you can get through it and you will with your family and a bible by your side.
I love you mom! I know that you go through so much more than I could ever imagine. I hope that I can always be there for you even when it may be tough for both of us.