"With love comes hope, with hope comes faith, and with faith miracles happen." That’s what the sign read at the store when I was purchasing the outfit for my mother to be buried in.
She had a heart attack, caused by her inability to control her smoking. Her arteries had closed off and the loss of oxygen to the brain had caused brain damage. She had been in the hospital for two days when I, being an only child and my mother not being married had to make the decision to take her off life support. I had promised her I would never institutionalize her, if she had remained on life support she would have been in a vegetative state and moved to a nursing home.
This wasn’t the first time I had to care for her, make decisions for her well being. Mom had been diagnosed with schizoeffective disorder when I was a teen and for years prior she had all the symptoms but went undiagnosed. I cant tell you how many times I felt alone, angry, confused, embarrassed, or sad because of my mothers illness. Scared that one day it would be me.
Then when I became an adult I did something about my feelings. I researched. I researched everything I could find on her disorder. This made me less afraid. Then I used my knowledge and personal experience to get a job working in mental health. I now work in a facility that does transitional care for patients who have been released from the state hospital and are learning how to take care of themselves so they can return home.
I see people pass through here sometimes who had similar childhoods and I wonder how is it that I came out of all of this unscathed? I think its only because I learned from the beginning that it wasn’t something my mom was doing on purpose. It was a disorder like any other disorder or illness. I learned to separate myself from it when necessary and go back and deal with her behaviors later. I learned that this illness wasn’t my mothers identity, but a struggle she so bravely fought.
I figure this much about life: you can be a victim of your circumstances or you can change them. Use what you have been through to help others and never be afraid to speak up for those who cant speak for themselves. With the love for my mom came hope, hope that eventually things would be better, faith in the lord to pray often when I felt alone in my circumstances and the faith to know I never was truly alone, and the miracle? Well the miracle is being ok and being able to help others when and where I can.