Facing my greatest challenge: taking care of my mother

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Facing my greatest challenge, as a person of faith, was when I took care of my mother after my father died.

My mother and I had a tumulus relationship my whole life and I left home at the age of nineteen. I only spoke to her on the phone to ask for my dad and I never went to see her.

When my husband and I decided to get married, he encouraged me to reconnect with her. I did, but the woman was hell bent on trying to make me, my husband, and later, our children, as miserable as she was.

My faith gave me the strength to go there every day to take care of her. Errands, doctor appointments and grocery shopping were never mundane when it involved my mother. There had to be an argument about something.

There were several times when I couldn't take it anymore, and my husband would take over. He would always come home from her house looking like he had been hit by a Mack truck.

Looking back, I have no regrets. Yes, I could have abandoned her. Chances are she probably would have died at some point without us. She nearly did in the heat wave of '95. My husband saved her life, but she would never acknowledge that.

Long after her death, I'm glad I took care of her. Every Hail Mary I said before I put the key in her lock, every tear I shed in anger over her treatment of me, every brutal verbal attack from her only strengthened my faith and proved to me the most important thing:

I'm not like her and never will be.

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