As Mother’s Day drawers closer, I’m aware of how much I feel for my mum, but of how little I say it to her. In fact the last time I think I told her was when I was about 9 or 10, and I wrote her a poem for Mother’s Day, which still hangs on her bedroom wall to this day.At the point of writing the poem, I had huge respect and love for my mum, as she was my one constant, secure person in my life. At that time I didn’t think it was possible to love her anymore than I did, but little was I to know of all the horrific things my mum was going to face for the remainder of my childhood until present day, and how this in turn would test my strength and stretched my heart even more with love and admiration for her.

When I was 12, we had a car accident on the motorway, involving a coach and a number of cars. Out of all the vehicles and people involved in this crash, my mum was the only person injured.
She got permanent nerve damage in her neck and shoulder, because as we were hit from a car behind us, her immediate response was to turn and check that me and my sister were OK. As she did this, we hit a car to our left and then swung and hit one to our right. These hits caused the damage, and all because she was being a good mum and making sure we were safe.

Admittedly, I do feel guilty about that, but now that I’m a mum, I would do exactly what she did!

From that point on, the nerve damage caused severe migraines at least 3 to 4 times per week, that would result in my mum being bed-bound, numb on the right hand side of her body, constant vomiting and severe head pain. This was very scary for me to observe when it first started to happen, and I remember rubbing her back as she was being sick in the middle of the night, because dad rarely stayed at home anymore at that point. As an adult, I can see now that my dad just couldn’t handle having to care for the woman who up until then did everything for him and the children. So I felt I had to take on his role when he wasn’t there, as the eldest child.

At school I could hardly concentrate, as I always worried about how she was (these were the days just before mobile phones became popular), and often went to the toilets just to cry.
I had to get two buses to school, because mum was not well enough to drive, and this started to teach me how to grow up fast.

Sometimes the migraines were so severe that mum would end up in hospital after having mini-strokes. I was pulled out of English class once to be told she had had another one, but I was to remain in school: – didn’t get much work done for the rest of that day!

A few times a night I would creep into her room and listen to her, just to make sure she was breathing. I also remember sitting at the bottom of her bed and just watching her, with silent tears running down my face, praying in my head that someone would stop this pain.

Now 18 years on, and mum still has these migraines a few times a week, but somehow she just deals with that pain. No medication stops the pain, which I still find so astounding, as we have successful medications on the market for far more complex health problems!

Over the years, my mum has also been diagnosed with an incredibly rare disease: Cushings Disease.
This has resulted in two brain surgeries (and stays in intensive care afterwards) to remove the pituitary gland which controls our bodies hormones. She is now on steroids for life, and if she were to miss a dose, she would die. Cushings has also caused diabetes, to the point that she is now insulin resistant, and has to use a trial drug from the USA, as well as various other medical conditions.

More recently, she has been diagnosed with severe liver disease, thought to be from the huge amount of tablets my mum has to take on a daily basis for life.

All this and she is only 49.

My dad left when I was 17, to be with another woman that he had been seeing for two years prior to leaving.
For those two years leading up to him leaving he did not utter one word to me or my sister, and we basically looked after our mum whilst going to school and college.

Cushing’s can give people a round face, round tummy and very thin legs (it eats away at the leg muscles), so my mum has had to also battle with very little confidence in going out to socialise to make friends or meet potential partners.

Despite all of this, the person I most admire in the entire world is my mum. She is the strongest, kindest, most empathetic, kind and loving person I have ever met, and as a mother she is outstanding.

Whilst going through some of her worst physical pain, she would always try to push through in order to make sure me and my sister were fed, taken to places and looked after. She has always put my sister and me before her own needs, and continues to do this even though we remind her it’s now our turn to look after her!

As a grandmother she is phenomenal; my son adores her and she is always the one he seeks comfort from even more so than me!

If I could be even a fraction as good a mother as my mum is, then my son will be one lucky boy.

My mum is my role model, my inspiration, and she has made me the strong, independent, intelligent, secure and loving woman that I now am today, and I thank her for this from the very bottom of my heart.

I love you mum, and this poem that I wrote for you all those years ago still stands:

Ever since I was a baby

You have been my leading lady

Taking over the centre stage

Loving me more with growing age

You’ve been there when I’ve cried

You’ve seen through all my lies

You made me a very happy girl

When you brought my baby sister to the world

We’ve seen good times

We’ve seen bad times

You’ve been with us through them all

And you’ve never let us fall

You’ve taught me to read and write

The difference between wrong and right

You’ve shown me how to think about others

Their friends and mothers

How to be kind, to love, to care

To stand up for myself, what’s fair

And to be proud of my beliefs and faith

So now it’s my turn to show you how I feel

That on this day you are reminisced

About us as babies, you giving me a kiss

The tantrums, the moods

The coming of age far too soon

The tears, the laughs

The fears, the baths

But the main thing I want to say

Is on this very special day

I always have, do and always will

Love you

Happy Mother’s Day!

Love Claire

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