This article appeared in the Bayside Leader during the week.
Mothers Day for me last year was spent in a car driving between junior soccer, rep basketball training, 2 football matches and netball training.
After receiving the obligatory hand made cards and school bought gifts in the morning, the six of us pretty much went our seperate ways. As Mothers Day approaches this year, I look at my children through new eyes, I see a family unit that has been rocked and changed forever by the devastation of spinal cord injury and quadriplegia… but I see a family that are finding a new normal each and every day.
Will has always been the least affectionate of my four children… hugging your mum takes time, you need to pause and stand still and connect… none of which have ever been Will’s strength. I accepted from a very early age with Will that he was born to move and that his love would look different to my other three children… Will’s expression of love was asking me to rebound basketballs for him as he practiced shooting in the backyard or being a body that he could mark on at the local oval!
Sport was always our language of love… right from the age of 4 when Will was able to race BMX bikes. There was always hidden meaning between the few words we shared in the car to and from each sport… a statement such as “can you make sure you stay and watch my match”, said so much from a boy who was unable to express his feelings any other way.
When Will broke his neck in January I felt like I had lost my child… “my child only knows how to move, he’s never done stillness”, I fretted. “If we can’t drive to sport together, if he can’t ask me to watch his match - how do we do love? “How do you take a child with the spirit and energy of a roaring Tiger and lock him in a cage of a body that is no longer working?”
As I watched my child fighting for his life in a coma, I never expected that he would have all the answers I was searching for. Over the past 13 weeks Will has taught me that you can “do stillness” by just being in the moment and by not lamenting over the past or searching for answers to problems in the future that don’t yet exist. He’s shown me that you can “do love” over a game of Words With Friends on the iPad. And, most importantly, he has put it out there for all to see that no matter what cage you put this 14 year old, courageous and brave boy in, he will always have the spirit and the energy of a roaring Tiger.
Mothers Day is going to look very different for our family this year. There will be no sport. There will be no matches to watch. But I believe this year, I will get a gift that all mothers wish for… I will get to sit still with my son. It will most likely be in silence… Will still shares only necessary words… and there will still be no hugs…but it will have a presence and a connection that I’ve never shared with Will before, which is something to celebrate.
But, if I’m honest, this is not my wish!
What I wish for most, as the mother of Will Murray, is for this to be his last Mothers Day of sitting still with me. I wish for him to find a new way to move and be independent. I wish for him to find new sports and new passions. I wish, more than anything, to hear him ask me “are you going to stay and watch my match?”.
Happy Mothers Day.