A Mother’s Love

Dear Mom

I will never forget the look on your face when you walked into the hospital – the day you saw your only daughter lying there – completely incapacitated. You tried to be brave. I saw you bite your lip. But when you placed your hand on my head, and kissed my cheek, I could see your upper body shake, as you sobbed. I felt comforted by your presence and knowledge that Mom will make it all better. I felt a little scared of what lay ahead. But, to be honest, a part of me was irritated by your usual overreaction to every situation. I wanted to tell you that I was absolutely fine. Mom, you have no idea how much I wished (later) that you were overreacting that day.

Chad was not even ten months old so, I had barely begun to understand what it meant to be a mother. Now, twelve years later, I have a far better idea of how you must have felt that day. But I will never really know unless something terrible happens to Chad. I pray that never happens.

How many times did you say the words “Tracy, don’t do that! You will break your neck…” while I was growing up? As usual, I was strong-willed and never imagined it could ever happen. If only I had listened to you more often. If only I didn’t take off my seat belt that day. If only…

I will never forget your reaction when I told you that my husband wanted out. You were so angry with him. And so sad for me. You knew long before I told you that something was up. You know me so well. You had seen the change in mood long before anybody else noticed it. You kept nagging me to tell you what was wrong. I was so scared to tell you. I knew you would be devastated. We had barely begun to understand and adapt to the horrific changes that came with having a quadriplegic in the family. How were we going to cope with more bad news?

The truth is that I was also ashamed to tell you that I was getting divorced. One thing you always taught me was that marriage is for keeps. I remember asking you before I got married how you managed to stay in love with the same man waking up next to you for so many years. I was convinced that I would get bored. But, when I finally took that step, I never ever intended to break my promise. But then I messed it all up by breaking my bloody neck!

It is said that you know you are a real mother when you have poked your finger in more places on your child’s body than you ever thought possible. I bet you never imagined you would have to do that for your adult child as well?

You have always been a good mother. But, for the past twelve years you have been my life-line – my best friend, caregiver, nurse, counselor, nanny, surrogate mother to Chad, chauffeur, hairstylist, makeup artist, gourmet chef, personal shopper, signatory, employee (although I haven’t paid you a single cent for your services). But more importantly you remain the most valuable person in my life – my mother.

I remember watching you as a little girl, from the backseat of the car, as you would re-apply your lipstick and check your makeup in the mirror behind the sun-visor of the passenger seat – despite having done that a few minutes before at home. You taught me to always wear lipstick, no matter what. Not even a broken neck was a good enough reason to go without. And for that, I am grateful.

Your pearls of wisdom “when one door closes, another one will open” have elicited more eye-ball rolling behind your back over the years than you ever knew. But those are the very words that have given me the strength, courage and ability to face, and survive, the most horrific tragedies to continue living a meaningful life – despite being paralyzed from the neck down.

I had to learn to live life completely differently. I had to learn to live life with my brain, eyes, ears, nose and most importantly my voice. You taught me that “it’s not what I say, but how I say it” that’s key to successful communicating. You continue to remind me of that daily, as I struggle with my frustrations of not being able to do anything for myself. Being physically dependent on others is hell. You often bear the brunt of my irritations but you always kiss me goodbye and tell me that you love me before you go – no matter what. And I know you will be back – soon. You are possibly the most forgiving person on this planet.  And for that, I admire you.

Thank you for loving and supporting my dad. Thank you for loving and caring for my son. And most importantly thank you for loving me – unconditionally – no matter what.

You are beautiful inside, and out! And I love you, more than you can imagine.

Happy Mother’s Day.

About Tracy Todd

Although I need a wheelchair to get around, it is most certainly NOT what defines my essence as a woman. I am also a mother, teacher, wannabe writer and an inspirational speaker with a positive outlook on life.
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32 Responses to A Mother’s Love

  1. Bill Watson says:

    The tears running down my face will not be stopped by a Kleenex in my hand. Your mother is beautiful – inside and out.

  2. Flutter says:

    Super blog Tracy and what a great tribute to your Mom.

  3. Tracy –

    Powerful and heartfelt – your mum must be extremely proud of you. Thank you as always.

    Phil

  4. Eva says:

    Oh my goodness. You are both such courageous, beautiful women. Wow.

  5. Giulietta says:

    Hi Tracy,

    Beautiful picture of you and your mom! You look radiant. Loving letter to your mom and to the world. Special Mother’s Day gift. (The best gifts are free and from the heart.)

    You’re such a loving person Tracy. I feel it when I read your posts. And Chad has a wonderful mother in you!

    Check out the radio story I did about my dad some time on my site. It’s called Thanksgiving and Getting.

    Talk soon!

    Giulietta

  6. Lisa says:

    Great post! What a lovely gift to your mother. I’m sure it meant everything to her.
    Take care,
    Lisa

  7. Happy Mother’s Day to you and your mother, Tracy! Thank you for sharing this reflection with us and for giving us a glimpse of the woman who helped mold you into the incredible woman you are.

  8. I salute the amazing woman behind the amazing woman. Happy Mother’s Day to you both.
    much love
    Heather xx

  9. Hi my darling….well I sure know your mum wept when she read your letter..I cried and uncle Terence cried….you have touched so very many hearts with your professional words of wisdom and your courageous determination to live as normal life as possible. You have been and always will be my” little girl”. who spent so much time in my kitchen baking and cooking with me – years that i’ll never forget. Chad has been truly blessed with a mother like you. None of us will ever know just where your strength has come from. Keep up the great work you are doing and never lose that beautiful smile – Bless you sweerheart, Love, Aunty Dolores and all your “Aussie” family.xox

  10. Ronna says:

    A lovely and powerful tribute, Tracy. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

    I can only imagine all that you feel today: the joy and the angst, the ambivalence, the pleasure and the ache. I only imagine, though.

    You know.

    I care.

  11. Dave says:

    Happy Mothers Day to you and your Mom. You are both an inspiraton. Strength to you!

  12. JACKi says:

    Trace – what an AMAZING letter to your mom!!! Made me have a good (and needed!) blub! Thanks!
    You are SO SPECIAL and CHAD is a VERY VERY LUCKY BOY to have you as his MOMMY and all the “different” lessons he’s learning as having a mommy as a quadraplegic are going to make him into a VERY UNIQUE and SPECIAL UNDERSTANDING man!
    So glad you made it to the CANSA Tea yesterday! Jax

  13. salingerjazz says:

    Hi Tracy,

    This was a very beautiful and moving post. It’s perfect for Mother’s Day.

    Your Mum sounds like an amazing woman and I guess she would have to be to raise such an exceptional woman as yourself.

    I think Chad will be just fine. He has two incredible women to love and care for him.

    You continue to amaze and inspire me.🙂

    • Tracy Todd says:

      Hey Jazz I’ve missed your comments on my blog.
      Thanks for the kind words. And yes, Chad is lucky to have many people in his life who love and care for him deeply.🙂

  14. Anton says:

    Your post is a bulls-eye in the heart…

    While I don’t know your mother, I am sure you learnt a lot from her, and probably still does – every day. She certainly sounds a great role model!

    Why or how else will you be such a great mother yourself? As I have it mothers forgive their children mistakes they made, disappointments and the countless heartbreaks they caused. Your Mother has forgiven you, I know!

    Have a great Mother’s Day!

    Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children. Brandon Lee

    All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his. Oscar Wilde

    • Tracy Todd says:

      I’m glad my letter to my mother touched your heart, Anton. I hope I can be a good mother to Chad like my mother is to me. Thank you!
      I love those quotes especially the one by Oscar Wilde.😉

  15. This one’s a true gift of love, for us and for your Mom.

    You didn’t break your neck. Gravity and momentum did.

    Living and marrying inevitably involve risks, and we can’t anticipate all the results. We can try to make wise choices, but there’s always a point where the piano falls on you from out of the sky. You got yours in a more literal fashion than most, but you’ve also proven to be hard to kill. Good.

    I have such respect for you Tracy, and for the clarity of your voice. I can also see where you got your smile from.

    (Wait till you see the house my wife found.)

    • Tracy Todd says:

      Thank you so much Michael. I really do appreciate your kind words.
      Hey, I cannot wait to see the house your wife found. And also cannot wait to hear all your news. Thinking of you. Enjoy your precious moments together.

  16. Chris Yelland says:

    Beautifully written as ususal, Tracy. What a privilege to have a mother who loves one unconditionally – I know because I have a mother like that too! She must be very proud of what you are doing and how you inspire… And your son is lucky to have a mother like you too.

    • Tracy Todd says:

      Thanks for the kind words Chris. Yes we are both privileged to have such special mothers. If I can be half as good a mother to Chad as my mother is to me, he will be lucky.🙂

  17. Shael says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your mother, Tracy! Enjoy Mother’s Day and much love to you and your family. Chris and Shael

  18. Wenchy says:

    Beautiful

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