It isn't pretty or beautiful or glorious.
When you think about the possibility of someone you love being sick, you imagine yourself being their rock- comforting them, supporting them, being gentle with them at all times.
Reality is a different thing.
Yes, you want to be all those things, and you try.
But there is also fear, anger, guilt and a crushing sense of helplessness.
Fear because the doctors aren't able to pin-point what it is exactly that is wrong with her.
Fear because someone once so strong and vital now spends her whole day in bed, watching TV, barely able to change sides; that she can barely talk above a whisper.
Fear because someone once so fearless is now afraid.
Fear because you have to massage her limbs every night because they are always cold, and she can’t sleep unless you rub a little warmth in them.
Anger with yourself for not being and doing more.
Anger with the medical profession because why isn’t she well already?
Anger because she has taught you how to stand on your own feet, how to forgive, how to hold on, how to let go, how to fight and how to submit. You've never been a good student but you have learnt some.
But she has never taught you how to prepare yourself for this.
And you take out that fear and anger on her.
She has always been the buffer between you and the world, unobtrusively in your corner, a tower of quiet strength. And you don’t know how much you have been leaning on her until you find that tower crumbling. You mask your own inadequacies and helplessness in anger.
Why is it so much easier to show anger than sadness, fear or hurt?
You pray for the winter that you've always loved so much to end, because the cold makes her worse. You pray for early summer, for the heat to thaw some of the numbing cold that has paralyzed her. You pray and your prayers are not so much about her as it is for you because you pray for normalcy, for your tower to be restored, for you to be the nurtured, not the nurturer.
And there is guilt for all the times you’ve snapped at her, for all the times you knew she wanted you to stay and talk but you pretend not to know because you can't bear to see her this way, never like this.
And more guilt because despite all of it, she remains gentle, nurturing, concerned.
But sometimes she forgets that she's a mom and she cries.
No child should ever have to see a parent weep in pain.
No, it’s not pretty, beautiful or glorious.