By Trent Hamilton
My son, Tucker’s, life began very normally, but that all changed very quickly as he was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome at about 36 hours after birth. But this post isn’t as much about Tucker as it is my wife, Dena. Tucker was our first child and we had so many plans for our “normal” parenthood. Dena should have stayed in the hospital for about 48 hours, and then we should have taken Tucker home, continued living our lives with our dogs, in our own home, never to return to a hospital except for a broken arm or some other common accident related to having a boy.
None of it happened that way, though! Dena went from her post-pregnancy hospital bed to chasing a stretcher carrying our dying son to an ambulance to be transported to a different hospital. She didn’t go home with Tucker until he was 1 month and 1 day old and we have returned with him to the hospital several times in his short 2 years of life. Dena has seen her son only minutes from death, she has entrusted his life to God and doctors twice for open-heart surgery, and she has seen his beating heart through a gaping hole in his chest, while spending countless hours at Tucker’s bedside, alone, in a hospital.
But Dena is not the only one! There are thousands of other mothers who have gone through this same journey and they are ALL heroes! Sure, dads have done these things too, but it is different for us. We dads didn’t carry the baby inside of us, didn’t deliver them, and we don’t usually have the fear that it was something that we ate, drank, did, didn’t do, etc. that caused this horrible heart defect. Dads also don’t, (and will never), get what it is to be a mom. For “heart moms” it may as well be a piece of their own heart that is broken and will never be whole again.
For Mother’s Day, Whole Hearts wants to take a moment and honor all of the moms out there, not just “heart moms”, but all of them. For every “heart mom” there are grandmothers, best friends, sisters, coworkers, and cousins who are touched by Congenital Heart Disease.
Moms are the hands, feet, brains, and backbone of the family, (I’m not really sure what that leaves for the dad, but that is another story). Moms cook, clean, nurse, work, taxi, discipline, and above all, LOVE. Moms motivate us to be our best and dry our tears when we don’t reach our goals. Moms not only feed our stomachs, they feed our souls; they don’t just provide shelter, they give kids a spiritual foundation on which to build a good life.
Proverbs 31 speaks about the Godly wife and mother. It says that she is more precious than jewels; she is trustworthy; she gets up to take care of the “house”, even at night; she takes care of those in need; she is clothed in strength and dignity; she can laugh at what is to come; she speaks wisdom and teaches kindness; she watches over the affairs of the household and is never lazy; the children rise up and call her blessed and her husband sings her praises (Proverbs 31: 10-28, English Standard Version, paraphrased).
Moms who have, and currently are, fighting the battle against CHD are described perfectly by the above and they deserve to be praised. In addition, the moms who raised us, the moms who support us through tough times and are our friends, deserve the same praise.
So, with my “Whole Heart”, on this Mother’s Day, THANK YOU! Thank you to my wife and Tucker’s mom, Dena; thank you to my mom, Joyce, and thank you to all of the moms who have influenced me and all of the other kids in the world!
Happy Mother’s Day from the Whole Hearts family!