Friday, July 25, 2008


Complicated is the first word that comes to mind as I sit with the intent of describing my Mother. Her life, her health, our relationship, all complicated. She married my Dad at 16 and had me at 17. By her 20’s she was deaf, in her 30’s she was paralyzed and bedridden, and 4 months before her 40th birthday she passed away in a torrent of pain. She married so young, was incredibly na├»ve and fiercely intelligent at the same time. She taught me young that pain is beauty, and she was absolutely gorgeous. I remember sitting and just watching in amazement as she delicately applied her makeup and feathered her brunette hair every morning. We looked nothing alike, and had nothing much in common besides sharing a horrible disease. She was the quintessential perfect Mother my entire early childhood, until one day a migraine caused it all to come crashing down. That one migraine was the beginning of years of horrible, blinding, crushing daily migraines. Her health was in no one’s control and the issue quickly suffocated our once amazingly close-knit tiny family. I became care-giver, handling insurance companies, rude nurses, mixed up prescriptions all by age 13. At the same time I was still a child, and had to follow rules. We constantly battled, I felt entitled to the perks of an adult being that I was expected to be the adult so much of the time. It was a difficult situation for everyone involved, in the end my parents divorced, I left the house, and our American Dream was shattered.

I continued to care for my Mom since she was now completely alone. (Her father, my Gramps, was my closest ally in the battle, but lives in the Bay Area) She ended up in a nursing home, unable to walk, her face paralyzed and unable to eat normally, her back crippled into a painful hunch from countless massive surgeries opening her spine. Her once thick lustrous feathered hair was now short and boyish, simple for the nurses to care for. At age 20 I spent my entire pregnancy knitting on the floor of the ICU after a particularly bad surgery took most of her functions away from her. The nurses knew me all too well after dragging me kicking and screaming from her bed as she convulsed in seizures, and finding me sleeping in a ball outside the ICU locked doors.

After months of rehabilitation she was finally released to the nursing home, and I was finally blessed with my son. For years I had feared becoming my Mother, but when I had my son all I wanted to be like was my Mother. Suddenly she was the one with the best advice, and as I gazed at my own newborn I finally understood why she fought me so hard. We were connected, not just by NF2, but by an incredible love that engulfed us and made us blind to the hurt we had inflicted upon each other. At last we were at peace, but a new battle had started within my Mom. The tumors in her body were growing so quickly there was no need for tests or surgeries any longer, all that was left to do was wait. On Saint Patrick’s Day after a simple procedure she developed sepsis, by the time we arrived she was already in a coma. After 15 damn years of sitting by her side, I had missed her final moments. She fought hard in that final day, tied down, intermittently fluttering her eyes, I knew she wanted to stay, but there was nothing left to fight for. Her body and her mind, had all failed her incredible soul. In the final hour I held her hand, unable to even comfort her since she was unable to hear, I just squeezed her soft hands, remembering the long crazy acrylic nails she loved to have for so many years. Suddenly, she was gone. All the years of waiting suddenly felt like they were not enough, I walked outside and just wailed. How was I to live my life without her? The only one who ever knew me, the only one who was me?

Sunshine seems lost
Will you see it shine again this summer?
Warm heat on my bare shoulders as I walk this path alone
Inside a clear glass tunnelI can still see the birds flying above
Can’t hear their song
Run toward the end
Find my feet at the beginning
We both run from that same shadow creeping
Round the corner so slow
Now comes the moonlight of your time
I still walk where the sun shines
So why do I feel the coldness of the night
Always I see your footprints on the road ahead of me
Try to pass them but can’t seem to just let them be
They are a part of me
But even if I walk away we will see each other another day
Out in the bright sunshine
Until then remember you are mine
Our footprints will step together even once yours have faded
I will keep you in my heart
Won’t let the memories of time be jaded
I was there I know who you are
You should have been a super star
But here we are


Cindy said...

You are a profound write Olivia. So goods, and what a story. beautiful pic (top right)

Dadd said...

Your Momm sleeps with the angels in peace and pain-free, and she lives in my heart forever.

ALDA Suncoast said...

one more ... your dad is cute!

Darci said...

Oh My God Olivia, i have a much deeper respect for you after reading some of what you and your family went threw. You truly are a ROCK! Your mother is beautiful!

Cherish said...

Wow Olivia, you had me tearing up! You are a great writer! You are an amazing person! Paul is lucky to call you his wife, and JT and Mica are blessed to have you as a mother!

BTW, you look JUST like Mica in that pic! :)

Melissa said...

Nothing like a good cry over my morning coffee... the battle you and your mom waged together all those years had me sobbing. You have a beautiful family and I look forward to reading your upcoming posts!!!

Anonymous said...

Your story really moved me. You are such a strong and determined spirit and I know your mom would be proud of you!

Anonymous said...

Hmm... girl I got teary eyed reading this. Thank you for sharing this part you. I don't even know what to say. But I'm glad you're doing this marathon and your mom is too.

Lisa said...

Wow Olivia you really inspire me. I am so sorry you had to go throgh that at such a young age. Your mom would be really proud of the woman you are. I am really going to try to be more patient in my own life just y thinking of waht you have gone through and continue to do.

Amy said...

Girl!!! Yeah, me? Tears. Olivia, thank you for sharing your story. I can imagine it was difficult to go thru. God bless you. Truly. My heart both breaks for you and SOARS for you and what you are able to do. I'm so thankful I "found you" with the Fab Moms of RC!! Love love love to you! Amazing writing at the end.

Days like These! said...

What a beautiful story. Your writing is so profound!

Rebecca said...

Olivia, this cut right to the soul. How brave of you to write and share it! It really tore me up inside. I had no idea. I thought your mother has passed away a long time ago when you were really young. Thank you for opening up about that part of your life. These are the kind of things and feelings people need to know about NF2 so there is more awareness and support for us.


Amy Farquue said...

Hey, my favorite ever, Meet Up Momma! I miss you and your sweet ones. I'm so proud of you and all your running. PLUS everything else you do. Amazing. You are an inspiration. Truly. Baba and I pray for you and your family everynight. Take good care, Olivia! xoxoxo Amy

Nikki Martin said...

Olivia, you are an amazing woman as was your mother. I only knew her a short time time when were growing up, she was truley and Amazing woman. You have been faced with so many obsticles in your life and yet you always manage to get through to the next day. I truley admire you and your strenght. I love you girl...Nikki

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