This is my mother and me. She is my heroine. I learned what it means to be an aspiring gentleman because of her unconditional love, the way she sets me straight when I’m wrong, and how she always supports me in the things that are right. I wouldn’t have lasted for so long if it hadn’t been for her.
When I was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Mom cried terribly. Our family immigrated to Canada not long before, and everything needed getting used to. The diagnosis came at a very bad time. She even wanted to die during those moments, as I recently discovered. However, when push came to shove, she asked herself, Who is going to take care of my Ricky?
And so the journey began; ours. She was my main caregiver and all I ever had to be was her son. I never cried, returning home with bloody knees every afternoon. She simply cleaned my wounds with iodine, looking into my eyes and nodding for me to go outside and play again. We were close that way, a connection of strength that transcended beyond human words. It was reality, and we had to deal, together, though I knew there were falling tears in her precious heart.
In July of 1994, when I went ahead with the spinal fusion surgery, she stayed by my side through the entire recovery process, day in and day out. She would go home and rest on occasion, but come back in the evening with a home cooked meal, just for me. My mother often defied the impossible, sacrificing herself without hesitation. I love her so, so much!
There were many challenges that I faced alone, mainly in school, of course. Yet from her example, her courage, I learned to return to my feet, stand tall, and endure all the afflictions this disease would bring into my life. She gave up her successful teaching career to care for me and I fought as hard as I could. It was the reason I gave myself a pat on the back after becoming wheelchair bound. Mom gave me the means to be proud of fighting the good fight.
High school was the worst for me. My friends from elementary were in a different location and I was alone. No one sat with me in the cafeteria, while I had a table to myself, like some sort of diseased animal. I drove around the hallways in circles until the bell finally rang, and that was how I would spend my lunch hour. By that time, I already started having much difficulty feeding myself, and you know what my dear, sweet mother decided to do? As if she didn’t have enough on her plate, only a couple hours after getting me ready, she returned with the van to drive to a deserted parking lot and feed me a piping hot meal, freshly made. Everyone treated me like a monster, even the vice principal who made fun of me, but Mom… she had never forgotten me, not once.
When September of 2007 came knocking on the door, a telephone call came with it, saying that a new liver was available. Mind you, this was only five months following her being put on the transplant list for cancer – nothing short of a miracle! Once more, my mother asked herself, Who is going to take care of my Ricky? Wow. At a time when her life was on the line, all she thought of was me. I was in awe after she revealed this some years later. Her love is too selfless to be true. She lived, for me.
“I’m so sorry, son, for giving you Duchenne muscular dystrophy.” she started. “It hurts so much, seeing you this way!”
“No, Mommy… it doesn’t matter. This fight was ours and you were always with me.”
“But it’s still my fault.” she cried.
“Momma, because of you, it was as if I never even had DMD.” I smiled back.
Today, Mom continues to thrive with great tenacity, making my life as comfortable as possible, despite the growing decline of my health. I don’t know how much longer I have remaining. Perhaps I will recover from my heart condition. Who really knows? All I know is that I’m turning 34 years old next week and it’s all because of her.
I love you, Mommy. Happy Mother’s Day.