Monday, March 15, 2010

When the Guilt of Your Past...

I've never been one to talk much about my mother. Something I always envied my sister for her ability to be vocal. When I was younger, it was because I was ashamed. I didn't understand Multiple Sclerosis, a disease for which my mother had been diagnosed. Then as her condition continued to fluctuate and progressively get worse, I periodically lashed out accused her of faking it and being lazy and not wanting to try harder to over come. I didn't understand how the same mind that was so sharp and strong when it came to punishing me when I did wrong was also the same mind slowly being overtaken by neurological damage.

I didn't understand and more importantly, I didn't want to. I stopped going places with my mother because I was embarrassed. I remembered the days of her walking me and my sister to the bus stop, the days of her running around the church during praise and worship, the days of her jumping up and down in our apartment hallway because she wanted to show how she was fighting MS. I remembered those days and in an effort to remember them I refused to acknowledge how things were changing.

As my mother's condition debilitated, I was able to hold on to my ignorance. I was the youngest of two, three years my sister's junior. At 14 when my sister got her first job and assumed her caretaker role, I was too young. Three years later when I was 14, I was living with my dad. I moved in him when I was 13, because while I thought I was being the typical disrespectful pre-teen, I didn't realize that my mother's condition couldn't handle the stress that my actions were placing on her. So I lived with my dad until the summer before my sophomore year, because my sister was off to college and my mother needed me. I resented this time period. I felt abandoned by my dad, and I blamed my mom. "If she was well, I would still be living with my dad."

Everyday after school, I came home and went straight to my room. I would stay in there until my mom knocked on my door and told me she was on her way to her MS meeting or on her way to church or even on her way to bed. At 16, when I should have been stepping up to the plate, I was selfishly reverting back to my childhood and refusing to be the help my mother needed. Until one day I came home from work and my mother was laying on the floor. She couldn't get back into her wheelchair, which was happening frequently. "Brittany, can you help me get up?" I struggled with my mom, for about 15-20 minutes trying to get her into her chair. The brakes weren't sturdy and the chair wasn't well built so every time I tried to lift her it slid back. So finally we gave up, for the night, and we went to sleep on the floor together. That was one of the first times her struggle REALLY hit me. By then I was 17, graduating from high school and off to college within the next three months.


  1. It's so hard to be open because it leaves us vulnerable. I'm at my desk trying not to cry. Wow.

  2. Sweetheart, just remember that you were a child, and the fact that you feel guilty about it now lets me know that your parents did do a good job raising you because you are a person of conscience. The fact that you can reflect on this is a good thing.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story. I find it refreshing and touching when people use their blog to expose themselves and a sore spot... because from that others are able to gain strength. You may be touching so many people right now and have no idea and you can heal during the process.

  4. @Luvvie - you're right...but at the end of the day, your openness is for you, nobody else. That's what I had to tell myself. It was my release. :-)

    @aaw - Thanks so much, I've learned to accept it better than before, so it's a process that I'm getting better everyday

    @SLSL - Thank you for listening and you're soooo right. It was good to hear other people tell me their stories and what they've been through. So that I know I'm not alone and they know they aren't either.


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