Coming Full Circle in My Relationship With My Mother

Jennifer (Jenn) Powell avatar

by Jennifer (Jenn) Powell |

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She held me in a fierce hug. It had been a year since I had held my mother so closely. I rested my chin on her shoulder and silently thanked God. As I looked up, my eyes met hers. I knew what question was coming, along with the weight of my answer. And while I do not lie to my mother, I knew total transparency was out of the question.

With age comes quiet wisdom. An awareness about life. Insight into ourselves and those we love. We grow from children to adults. Reality replaces innocence. Roles lose their delineation as we learn to accept a new perspective. The blind reliance on our parents is gone, and in its place is a strength born of love.

I no longer need to divulge all. My desire for comfort is now a need to provide the same. There are aspects of my journey with MS that will cause pain. Although she tells me she can take the pain, I do not want her to. It is my turn.

My mother is a strong, vibrant, and fearless woman. She has a powerful life force. I still hear her cheers from the sidelines of soccer fields, pool decks of a swim meet, docks of regattas, and audiences of recitals. Her omnipresence during my youth and adolescence saved me from myself. And despite my turbulent teens, her love never wavered.

As we waited for baggage, I grasped her hand in mine. And as I did, I was struck with a beautiful realization. We have come full circle. The longing to cry on her shoulder is now an urgency to protect. And while I know she would comfort and soothe, that need has dissipated. So, I stayed quiet in silent recognition of this new normal.

A million iterations of us together dance through my mind. A melancholy ache sits heavy on my heart. With more sand on the bottom, the hourglass is shifting. I am grieving the sand even as I watch it pass.

I grieve my progression just as powerfully. This sober epiphany humbles and inspires me daily. It reminds me of how blessed I am to have so many granules of sand. The sand on the bottom is a reminder of life, and of how many people run out of sand far too soon.

While this disease has taken so much, I am grounded in sand. I grew in its abundance. I continue to thrive in the sediment that remains. As we made our way to the car, we stopped at the crosswalk. And at that moment, I took her hand in mine. I did this because I could.


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Leanne Broughton avatar

Leanne Broughton

We do protect them. I was diagnosed with MS only 6 weeks before my Mom died of a terminal illness. Much as I wanted to share it with her, my lifelong confidant, I said nothing 23 years ago.

Jennifer (Jenn) Powell avatar

Jennifer (Jenn) Powell

Dear Leanne,

My heartfelt sympathy for losing your beloved mother while assimilating a diagnosis. I cannot imagine how difficult that period of time must have been. You have a beautiful soul.


Donna Hagy avatar

Donna Hagy

Jennifer, such a beautiful tribute to your Mom who has been a very special person in my life and has certainly helped guide you to be the person you are.
With all you have to deal with in life you not only make life the best it can be for yourself, but to share this
story to help others is amazing.

Jennifer (Jenn) Powell avatar

Jennifer (Jenn) Powell

Dear Donna,

Thank you so much for your kindness. I have been profoundly blessed with such a special mother. I am grateful we have had the opportunity to know one another as women. She has always put my needs before her own, it’s an honor to reciprocate in kind.

Much love,


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