This one goes out to you, Momma

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

Hi folks, sorry I’ve not been active lately. I’ve started a new job and writing has been difficult during this weird time. I miss you all and will be back to writing soon enough, scout’s honor. A very special Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there. Here’s an essay I wrote to my mom for Mother’s Day.

Wow my drip game was off the charts from an early age. I been stuntin’ since birth, apparently.

Life changed in a moment for you both. That’s always how it goes, though. We don’t tend to realize that a moment is one we will reflect on for the rest of our lives, but I’m certain you both knew that life would never be the same the day Alyssa was born. Not only had you guys become parents, but you had just become lifelong caretakers. I can remember hearing you and dad discuss your approach to parenthood from a young age; there was never a choice. Your lives were forever dedicated to trying to make mine and Alyssa’s lives as good as possible.

I know it shatters your heart to hear this, but I knew about the fragility of mine and Alyssa’s lives long before I ever actually knew. It was something I sensed. I remember one Christmas I was upset about my gifts. I wasn’t upset because you guys didn’t get me what I wanted; no, I was upset because you guys got me exactly what I wanted. I wondered if maybe you guys gave me such a great life because you knew that it was likely to be shorter. I don’t know if you guys thought that and I would never hold any ill will towards you if you had. Hell, I felt guilty that I had even thought you guys may have had those thoughts.

You were there for me, every step of the way, even when you were spending time with Alyssa when she was sick. Through it all, you never made me feel less loved than Alyssa even though she required more of your time. It may not seem like it makes sense, but your faith in me that I could take care of myself when I got older while you were spending countless nights in the hospital with Alyssa meant the world to me. I knew you loved me unconditionally because you trusted me to take care of myself and gave me the chance to prove that.

Ever since my freshman year of college when I first left home, you’ve texted me to have a good day almost every single morning. On the rare days you don’t, I am reminded of how much it means to me even though it’s such a small thing. It is on those days where it occurs to me that your motherly instincts to be protective and take care of me even when I get annoyed are evidence of the unconditional love you have for your children.

Just a littttttle sunburnt…

During college, when I was coming to terms with my identity as a man and a person with a chronic, potentially life-shortening disease, I remember people heaping praise upon me for my handling of cystic fibrosis. But you and dad taught me that CF wasn’t necessarily a roadblock or impediment to living; it was just a part of our lives. In that way, I learned early on the value of having a loving home. Through it all, CF was background radiation; always present in our lives in one way or another. We did our best to never let it become the foreground but it was difficult at times.

This is already your third Mother’s Day without Alyssa. Somehow, it feels like she left yesterday and forever ago all the same. Our lives have regained a sense of normalcy as we take the next step to Florida. I can only imagine how excited Alyssa would be about Florida, but I know she’s excited for us.

It’s been two years and then some for you without your best friend. I know there isn’t a day that goes by or a memory created that you don’t desperately wish Alyssa was here with us. You guys spent more time with one another than any of us and the way you guys got along and communicated was a joy to see. Your senses of humor and affection for one another meant so much to me to see. Alyssa had terrible health for decades but her life was made better daily because of you. We’re in an impossible predicament; of course we wish Alyssa had more time, but imagine the fear we lived with every single day. We’re forced to reconcile with the loss of a sister, a daughter, a dog mom, and a best friend. Worse, we’re forced to wonder if there was a better future ahead of her.

We know better than to spend time doing this. If we reflect and wonder about all the points in time where Alyssa may have had a longer life, we will never come to grips with it. Instead, I think it’s better to reflect on the life Alyssa led and the way she impacted so many people, people that either knew her directly or indirectly knew her story. Hers was a life made more beautiful by your presence as a constant shining star.

I would not be the man I am today without you. You taught me the importance of compassion and empathizing with others. You taught me how it doesn’t matter who you are, you must treat others with kindness, with compassion, and with dignity. Those lessons from a young age have led me to my career path and my advocacy for a better world. Some of my best memories with you were your chaperoning almost every field trip I went on. I was so proud to have my cool mom there. You being there made me feel cool myself.

There are and never will be enough words I can string together to thank you. There has never been a day in my life where I’ve doubted your love for me. That is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Thank you, mom, for believing in me in everything I’ve ever done. I will always be grateful for you in that way, but maybe most importantly, I will be grateful that Alyssa’s life was filled with love and support from you, every single day, from the first day of her life to her last. There has never been a question about how great of a mother you are and have always been.

We love you, Mom!

Best friends.