I’m exactly half of both of my parents. I have half of each of their facial features and if you know all three of us, you’d know from my stubbornness, determination, work ethic, and perseverance that there’s no possible way I could be anyone else’s child.
Even as I only begin to write this, I know I’ll cry profusely through it because I want to take this time to thank one half of the power duo who raised me, the woman who has pretty much carried me through this terrible whirlwind of a year and without whom I wouldn’t here – my mum.
I have to admit, for me this year has been pretty traumatic, both physically and mentally. I’ve had so much change that it’s been really hard to keep myself grounded. But, throughout it all, my rock has been my mother.
At only 4 feet and 11 inches you’re tiny, but I’ve watched you carry the weight of the world on your small shoulders for both the family and, most recently, especially for me. You’re the strongest person I know and I am who I am because of you.
I know it must be incredibly difficult to have one of your children diagnosed with a chronic illness, and you must be scared and worried for me, but you never seem to show it. You’re only concerned with making sure that I’m doing OK. Parents shouldn’t have to take care of their children with illnesses such as these in their 20s, but you’ve taken it in stride.
I remember the afternoon before I went to the hospital, as I wallowed on the couch tearful and terrified because I had no idea what was happening to me. Later that night, you would take me to the emergency room and stay with me until the wee hours of the morning. During that week I spent in hospital, I don’t think there was a day when you didn’t come visit me to bring me something, or just to see how I was doing.
Thank you for all the pep talks — both the times when I need someone just to listen and cry to and the times when I need someone to kick my butt with some tough love.
You are the glue that keeps our family from falling apart and, lately in many instances, you’re the only thing keeping me together.
Your heart is huge and it’s from you that I’ve truly learned what it means to love completely, unconditionally, and wholeheartedly. I’ve never seen anyone love the way you do.
There’s a lot of unknowns that surrounds lupus, but with you in my corner that doesn’t matter. You’ve got my back and it’s with that knowledge that I’ll never stop fighting.
Every time I look in the mirror I’m incredibly proud to see half your facial features in my face. I’m constantly grateful to be one your daughters, and I hope you always know that. You’re the greatest female role model I could ever ask for. When I have kids I’ll teach them everything you taught me.
You’re the reason that I have grown to be who I am, that I am fighting to remain as fiercely independent as possible, and that I constantly strive to be my very best regardless of the circumstances.
You’re the reason I can’t and won’t ever let lupus win.
Thank you for coming with me to the supermarket and helping me read hundreds of nutrition labels just to find foods I can eat, for learning to make foods that I used to take for granted like mayonnaise, and for understanding when I break down in tears and frustration about food.
Thank you for tagging me in silly dog videos on Facebook and for being my constant reminder to laugh often and loudly — especially at myself!
At this point I am on a long and slow journey, but the one thing I’m certain of is: While not every day will be easy, I will make it through to other side alive and smiling, in large part because of you.
This year, as my world flipped upside down and inside out, you’ve hugged, cried, and sobbed with me, holding my hand through it all.
Thank you for giving me the whole world and constantly making sure it’s still spinning.
I love you.