Tommy's Mom: Staying focused on heaven
For most of my adult life, I have been referred to as Tommy’s mom and if the truth be told it always brings a big smile to my face. The unique relationship that Tommy and I have begun years ago in the delivery room of the hospital where I worked as a medical technologist. I was in labor and battling for my life and the life of my unborn child Tommy. As the grim reality of the situation struck me, I turned to God in prayer. I promised that if both of us lived that I would take care of Tommy regardless of any problems he might have. My prayers were answered, and after a month in the hospital with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy due to the umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck twice, he was able to come home with his dad and me.
As new parents, my husband Daniel and I faced many challenges caring for Tommy who required constant attention. I gave up my career at the hospital and became a full-time mother and caregiver for Tommy. Those early years were a whirlwind of physical therapy, speech, therapy, doctor’s appointments and most importantly prayers. And by the Grace of God Tommy thrived! Even though he still required care to meet his physical needs, his mind was unscathed, and he was able to obtain a good education with the help of homebound teachers and adaptive equipment.
I may have been Tommy’s first teacher, but he taught me valuable lessons about persistence and perseverance when faced with adversity. With my help and the help of many dedicated educators, he was able to graduate from both high school and college with highest honors. And when electronics and computers became available for the disabled he taught himself how to use a computer with Morse code. He was then able to get a part-time job with a small medical supply company that he still works for today.
My biggest test of my faith and perseverance came, however, when Daniel, my rock was struck with Parkinson’s Disease. I now had to care for two people with severely limited mobility. The hardest time of all was when they were both in the hospital for a two-week period with pneumonia. Thanks to some special people and God’s grace I was able to take care of them. Tommy recovered, but Daniel did not fare as well and eventually died from complications of Parkinson’s and another bout of pneumonia. At this time I realized that Jesus was by my side and had carried me through it even when I thought that I couldn’t do it.
Jesus was always there with Tommy and me as we journeyed along through life together. Our faith and our relationship with God has grown as we live out the promise that I made so many years ago. As St. Paul so aptly put it, Tommy and I are running the race, competing with our eyes focused on the heavenly reward that God has promised to everyone who perseveres in their faith and belief in Jesus Christ.