I had something very profound happen to me today. Coming from a broken home, I don’t really know my extended family very well. Both my father and mother had three brothers, which means lots of cousins. But I don’t really know any of them. As we’ve grown up, I’m starting to come into contact with them all these years later in life, which has been fun and interesting.

Today, my cousin Paula sent me a Facebook message. Paula is the daughter of one of my mom’s brothers. She had purchased my book and was giving me some feedback. Specifically, she was sharing more details to some of the stories I put in the book. Because she is probably about 17 years older than me, she knows some of the family history much better than I do. One story hit me like a steel rod being thrust through my soul.

My mother had multiple sclerosis (MS). While she already had three children (and family lore is also two miscarriages), she was pregnant again in 1964. According to my cousin, my mother was told by her doctors she should have an abortion, because bringing that pregnancy full term could cause significant issues with her MS. Mom refused the abortion. I figure that’s because she was raised Catholic and was willing to sacrifice whatever it took for her child.

That child was me.

But the doctors were right. After I was born, my mother never really walked again, according to Paula. I have no memories of my mother walking and she died 20 years later, her body ravaged by the MS, the strokes, and all the other issues caused by her paralysis.

It makes sense that the doctors back then would suggest an abortion based on my mother’s condition. What struck me was my mother’s courage and willingness to sacrifice for me. She knew the consequences yet still chose to bring me into the world. On the one hand, it just breaks my heart that I’m the reason she suffered so much. On the other, I know that God had a plan for me and my mother had to sacrifice herself for God’s plan for me to come to pass.

I only have a handful of memories of my mother. But I do remember visiting her in the nursing home and when we would be getting ready to leave, I would give her 100 kisses. I did that every time we visited and now those kisses have more meaning than they ever had before. I never really knew my mom, but have pieced things together from various stories. Today’s story helps confirm for me that she is the person I think she is. I use the present tense because she is with the Lord, alive and well – completely well – and I can’t wait to see her again!!

Jesus tells us that people will know we are his disciples by the way we love one another. He showed us how to love by sacrificing himself for the sins of the world. I believe my mother loved like Jesus when she chose not to abort me regardless of the personal cost to herself. I am blown away by that love of a woman I never really knew, but plan to spend eternity with!