An Open Letter to My Mother

Kellie McRae avatar

by Kellie McRae |

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mothers and love, therapist

I grew up in a pretty tough neighborhood and was reared by a single mom. She was tough, and she wasn’t overly affectionate. We never heard “I love you,” but we knew she did anyway. She would fight for us with fierceness. Sometimes — a time or two —  that meant fighting physically as well. My mother was no joke when I was growing up, and although older, she is still no joke.

Since calling my mother and uttering the words “I have lupus,” she has been in turmoil. She doesn’t think I hear it in her voice, but I do. We attended church when I was kid, but since my mom had kind of fallen off. Now, she is all about God. This thing has made her a prayer warrior. One of the most dramatic (and welcome) changes has been that, and how, she openly says, “I love you.” This for me was the biggest change; she is making sure to embrace me every chance she gets, and I am grateful for it. I tell my kids all the time that I love them, bombard them with affection. To have this from my mom is so heartwarming.

My mom seems to be the most affected by my lupus diagnosis. As a mother of two, I can tell you the very thought that your child may die before you is disconcerting. If I had to really consider that, I wouldn’t know what to do. I hurt because she hurts, and she hurts because of how lupus has hurt me

So, I decided I would dedicate this post to her.

Dear Mom,

I can’t even begin to imagine what you are feeling. I’m so sorry to have to put you through this, but I didn’t get much choice.  That doesn’t stop me from feeling guilty for the pain and worry that I know this is causing you. You don’t cry often, but the first time you cried — when you thought I wasn’t going to make it — was heartbreaking. But I am so happy that you were honest and shared with me what you were truly feeling. It helps me grow closer to you. It shows me you are more than my mother — you are a woman. I know without a shadow of a doubt that, no matter what, you are firmly in my corner. Even when we don’t see eye-to-eye, you are willing to say sorry for the sake of making it end.

I have always been a stubborn and independent kid, which is serving me well during this fight, but I need you to know that your hand guided me. I always tell people “My momma didn’t raise any weak women,” and I thank you for the woman that I am today, the fighter that I am. It is not easy wearing battle gear, but I don’t know how in the nation I would do this without you. You give me strength, whether you realize it or not. You celebrate every victory, and with all the research you have done, I bet you could give Dr. House a serious run for his money (or any doctor,  for that matter).

I may not say it often enough, but I love you more than you know. I rely on your guidance more than you know, and I need you to let me know it’s going to be OK. No matter who else says “It’s going to be OK,” it’s not believable until you say it’s going to be OK.

I wish I could make my pain stop, so I could make your pain stop, your worry stop. I often wonder if I’m contributing to shortening your years through stress and worry.  I know that my being on the other side of the world is another thing that concerns you.  I promise if it gets too bad, I will come home — and I don’t say that lightly. I will do my best to get as close to you as I can, if I see things progressing. But I’ve got a lot of fight in me.

You didn’t teach me to be a pushover, and I’m going to give this thing everything I’ve got. I’m leaving nothing on the mat at the end of the fight, so please try not to worry so much. I am making it, and my support and group of friends is growing each day. I am not alone — and I know that, too, is a concern of yours, but you see with every hospital stay, I’m taken care of.

Your prayers are being answered. I just wanted to share that I know you are hurting. I know you are worried, but know that everything will be OK — now you say it, so it will be true. I love you, stop worrying so much. Like you always say, “God is in control.” There’s nothing either of us can do without that.

Thank you for being in my corner, always.

My mother is my rock, without her I don’t know how hard I’d be able to fight this battle. She gives me strength.


Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.