“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”
This quote from Diane Mariechild, author of Mother Wit, is one I think of often when I walk the halls of our hospital. Throughout those halls, in children’s rooms, in the food court areas and in the waiting rooms, I see the mothers of the children for whom we are caring. I see them, some with concern on their faces and determination in their spirits. Others who are a well of hope and reassurance for their children. They are a constant reminder to me of the strength of mothers.
As we honor the many women in our lives on Sunday who are mothers or mother figures to so many, I am reminded of one woman in particular – Elizabeth DeLuca. Elizabeth is the mother of four daughters, including her precious Caroline who she lost on March 24 of this year.
Caroline was born with a rare neurodegenerative condition called STXBP1 (or Ohtahara Syndrome). Elizabeth remembers her as “a big strong healthy baby.” But after only one day home – “one day of normal,” as Elizabeth has described it – the lives of the DeLuca family would forever be changed. Caroline’s 18 years were filled with countless tests and treatments, and much of her life was spent here at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Elizabeth constantly researched neurodegenerative and neurotransmitter diseases and available treatments – she was such an informed, integral part of Caroline’s care team. However, she was also resolved that Caroline was not a diagnosis, and she was determined that Caroline’s life would be filled with much more than a list of limitations. She involved Caroline in church, sports and music and exposed her to Broadway shows – Mamma Mia was Caroline’s favorite.
Elizabeth was her daughter’s advocate, nurturer and most adamant cheerleader. She was more than Caroline’s mother, she was her champion. And when I think of her, I am in awe, just as I am so many times when I hear the stories of our patients and the mothers here with them.
Like Elizabeth, many of our patients’ moms have other children, and they are wives. Many have jobs or give of themselves in so many other areas of their lives. Yet, they also are here, ensuring their children have a voice, providing information they have researched and asking the critical questions that make all the difference in their children’s care and outcomes.
Mothers have within them a seemingly endless reservoir of strength and tenderness for their children. They are the full circle, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to celebrate them on Sunday. But I especially appreciate and am inspired by our patients’ mothers every single day.
Happy, blessed Mother’s Day to all.