Every Mother’s Day, I send a greeting to a friend who gets no other acknowledgement on this day. It hurts her that nobody else remembers her. You see, her only child died when he was twenty-two.
Yet Grace is the most inspiring mother I know. She gave me courage that it was possible to raise a differently-abled child in a time when there was no support available, no ready information, indeed, no diagnosis until my own son was nine years old.
Her son was twelve when I was carrying Ass Burger Boy. They hung out together because their mothers hung out together. They became friends. Richie gave ABB rides on his wheelchair. ABB was crazy about them both.
Both of them smart, and funny. Just good people.
Grace told her son that she would be his legs, that her strong arms would lift him wherever he needed to go, and that she would always take care of him.
People often asked her “Grace, how do you do it?” and she would get all exasperated. “What do you mean? You do it because you got to. What the heck am I supposed to do? Take him out in the back yard and shoot him?”
I love her sense of humour. Those are the actual words that inspired me the most. You do it because you got to.
Beside Richie’s bed, on the floor, was a hole worn in the carpet. I asked Grace about this, and she explained that it was where her heel pivoted when she lifted him out of his bed into his wheelchair each day.
On Mother’s Day, the image of that hole in the carpet always comes to me. Repetitive tasks, done with love, day after day after day.
As long as I’m alive, I will always send her Mother’s Day greetings.