Day 73

I put my mom through a hard time when I was 15. I had a hard time fitting in at my school and I was just not doing well emotionally. This led to a massive breakdown one January evening where I couldn’t stop crying. My mom, unsure and frightened, called my pediatrician, who told her to take me to a psychiatric hospital. I was admitted and stayed there for about a week. It was a very tumultuous time as I was admitted to the hospital another two times and our relationship was beyond strained. Even though we both lost our tempers plenty of times, she kept visiting me every day, even changing her work schedule so she could do so.

We had both agreed early on not to tell our extended family what was going on. For her, she didn’t want to hear them criticize her parenting and offer unwanted advice. For me, I didn’t want to hear that this was happening because I didn’t go to church and needed to accept Jesus. She even visited one of my aunts during this time and made some excuse as to why I wasn’t there.

I’ll never really understand how she was able to do that or how she managed to do all of this in her own. When she thought I was too heavily medicated, she argued with the nurses. She told me during our visits to always get dressed for the day and not to stay in my pajamas all day like some of the other patients. Once I was released, she dutifully took me to several psychiatrists and psychologists because she wanted the right fit for me and for me to be comfortable with whoever I saw.

I was at a well-known high school that focused heavily on academics. The principal suggested I drop out to get my GED and she told him off before turning to me and saying that she knew I could walk across the stage to collect my diploma. She even supported me when I decided to transfer high schools and she fought with the superintendent’s office to enroll me in a school that had the proper AP courses.

I still feel a lot of guilt from this time. She had started taking classes at the community college and she loved it, but she stopped when I got sick and never went back. I can’t imagine the level of stress she was under and she was basically supporting me completely on her own, not even with any kind of emotional support.

Later, in my twenties, I apologized for what I put her through and in every Mother’s Day card I gave her since then always had a variation of “I know I put you through a lot and I am grateful for your support. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, please know how much that means to me.” I once wondered out loud how she was able to do that by herself and how sorry I was for what I put her through. She just shrugged it off and said that any mother would have done the same. She added that she wanted to make sure I got the help I needed and she was thankful that she had the means to make sure that happened. I hope she knew how much I loved her.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.

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