After I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, I moved in with her. She drove me to my appointments and listened to me cry, as I tried to make sense of what was happening to my body. We made meals together. We mowed the lawn. We went to movies and started to talk. She let me swear and sometimes she swore, too. But more than that, she heard me out. We saw each other for our strengths and loved each other more for our vulnerabilities. With her support, I grew stronger and followed my dreams. I moved to Chicago far from my mom. We talk every day, but I miss seeing her face. The next time she visits, she'll bring me a gift. After rummaging through her purse, she'll pull out her middle finger and say, "Take that!" She'll laugh at her own joke as if she's never done it before…and I will, too.
Marlene Kelly; Chicago, Illinois