Jill from South Carolina

How can I get a higher paying job? How can I better attract a husband? Will my co-workers tease my newly beat-up car? These are some of the superficial questions that ran circles in my brain for a long time. I led a much more superficial life, in fact I struggled with drugs for three years and changed jobs 3 times in 5 years. Everything was about me.

My mother, Olivia Jean: the exact opposite of selfishness. I never understood how she could be so stoicly selfless and the constant thread that bound our family together. Of course every selfish child (even a 40 year old one) believes their mother to be the constant immortal being that, in a perfect world, they would be. But the world is not perfect, my mother's body was betrayed by its own overreplicating cells and she became sick. She had cared for my grandmother, Dorothy through her breast cancer which was both grueling and, well, torturous (it was a different time then and cancer care was nowhere near what it is today). Unfortunately this caused my mother to greatly delay medical care for a condition that her body had hinted to her much earlier. In retrospect, she said, she would have done things differently but there's no going back and this is where we are. My mother, Olivia, is frail and thin, she needs to be turned in bed every hour so that she doesn't develop sores. Her body is in disarray, which on many days means incontinence and a vomitous rejection of food. But as frail as she is, she makes up for in spirit, she continuously surprises us each day with her mainly positive attitude (of course she has her bad days, and many of them) and even finds way to bring humor into the sometimes mundane required activities and exercises.

She is always worried she is a burden, and at least every week I have to remind her that she is not. She has both given birth to me and caused me to shift in my adult life from self-centeredness to a bit of her selflessness. For this I will ever be changed for the better and although things are in a gradual decline, I know that the strength and trust in God that she has taught me will get me through until I am able to be with her once again in heaven! I love you mom and thank you for giving me the priviledge of taking care of you!

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