She fights with her hair & make up done, her favorite pumps and dress and with a constant assurance that her Faith is the drive for her fight. You would never know my mom was facing a battle unless you were to ask and the height it all began in January.
Over the last 5 years my mom has faced various health challenges and last year was diagnosed with a rare condition called pudendal neuralgia. As a result of her condition she began struggling with every day tasks some as simple as walking or sitting up. As a manager in the music industry and a pastor alongside my dad she began working primarily from home and making adjustments as to not overwork herself however if you’ve ever met my mom (or me, the jr version) then you know that’s a challenge. Over the years she has been a mom (“mama mona”) to the motherless, a friend to the friendless, a teacher to the teacherless (she started a private school and a homeschool co op when i was in grade school) and just about everything else she could become to serve others. It’s not my mom’s norm to have to fight for her own life. She’s used to fighting for everyone else’s.
As with any medical condition our family, and many of our friends, spent forever on the good ole Google trying to find a cure for mom’s condition. It has many complications and while the risk for her life is not close to being the highest, the quality of life is one of the most common adjustments. Additionally, barely any doctors even know about pudendal neuralgia and all of the ones we could find had waiting lists longer than anything. Eventually we found a doctor in Boston willing to take mom’s case and try an experimental surgery. It took months to get the appointment and in January my dad took off work, my grandma (his mom from Texas who, to my heart’s break, isn’t a Cowboys fan but that’s another post) flew to Boston and the three of them embarked on a journey with mom.
My sister Morgan and I flew in the day after the surgery and flew out that next morning, we (along with my tour manager/brother in law) were on a tour called The Roadshow and could only be we with her for a few hours. However, I could see the hope in her eyes. I could see the peace in my dad’s. I could see the compassion in my grandmother’s. I could see the kindness in the eyes of the nurses and the friends (Duncans, we love you) who had picked us girls up from an airport an hour away to make sure we got to the hospital to see our mom. There were so many positive emotions in that room. It was hard to think she had just been through a 5 hour nerve-related surgery. Or maybe it was the obvious.
Considering mom’s condition, her physical recovery post surgery could be up to 5 years.
Typically when I say that to friends who ask “how’s your mom?” I see them tense up and slowly nod. Acting as though they were completely expecting that answer. They immediately resort to, “but your mom’s a fighter…” or “I’ll be praying for her” which I love, mom loves, and we appreciate more than anything. But the reality is, being a fighter doesn’t always mean that the battle is coming to an end. Sometimes it means you’re halfway through, sometimes it means it’s only begun and in many cases it means that you don’t know where you are but you know it’s still worth the fight.
Over the last few months we have had the most extreme of many situations. I have seen my mom cry more than any daughter should have to. I have seen my dad hold her when many husbands would’ve walked away. I have seen my mom laugh at the smallest moments and learn how to sit at home watching cable television (She literally hates sitting at home and does not like watching TV too much. She’s usually out starting after school programs, visiting and encouraging inmates and decorating houses for low income families – not kidding). I have seen my mom’s management company grow with more staff members and interns who are incredible at working with her to get the job done.
Through the pain, tears, fear, frustration, confusion… I’ve witnessed joy, true love, compassion, peace, loyalty, Faith… seeing my mom go to church for the first time in months. Watching her learn how to walk again, using her walker proudly. Seeing her learn to sit up again. Seeing her realize she has to stand more than sit so watching my dad request bar stool tables at restaurants because he refuses to sit without her. Seeing my brother in law and sister move back home for the last year and a half to be near her. Seeing our church members bring over dinner when they know the kids are out of town. Seeing the NOW guys and my band/crew love my mom when her own kids aren’t home. Just two nights ago, seeing some of her closest friends and family members gather at my house for her birthday party. Not only celebrating her 48th, but celebrating her life as a whole.
Yes, there is pain.
Yes, there will be healing.
Yes, there will be freedom.
But yes… there will be pain.
I don’t know how long this specific journey will last for our family, but I know that we serve a King who will be with us every step of the way. I know that He has put my mom’s coworkers, friends, church family and family in her life for a reason and I’m grateful that they are there to encourage her daily.
Mother’s Day used to mean asking my dad for $10 to buy my mom a card and a gift. Obviously as I’ve gotten older things have changed but even now it’s not a matter of picking out something cute for her to rep next time she goes out (even thought I totally got her new cowboy boots…). I guess it’s partially because I’m an adult, but Mother’s Day now? It’s a completely different story. It’s about sitting there with my mom, through pain or joy, and taking in all of who she is.
Her wisdom, her humor, her laugh, her joy, her jokes, (if you can’t tell the lady is straight up HILARIOUS) her advice (about guys… let me tell you… it’s on point), her strength, her fight… because at the end of the day women don’t become mothers for themselves. Motherhood – the most selfless and underpaid position ever – is a job centered around molding someone else into who they’re gonna be. I pray that I’ve taken enough notes and continue to keep my pen ready. She has much more to teach, I have much more to learn, and I couldn’t be more appreciative that my trainer is the most well equipped fighter I know.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. -Proverbs 31:25-31
For the rest of the week I’ve decided to feature the stories of moms who are also fighters. Click here to share your mom’s story.