Mother’s Day may be even more special this year for Sheree Stovall. She’s glad to have her sons, Stevie and Jonathan, under one roof, but she’s also relishing being a first-time grandmother to 2-month old Isabella.
Mrs. Stovall, 42, has experienced her share of ups and downs as a mom. At 6 months old, Stevie had an allergic reaction to a pertussis vaccine, throwing him into an hour-and-a-half long seizure. It resulted in severe brain damage.
Now living with cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis, a disease that causes mucus build up in the lungs, Stevie needs constant care to help with feeding and dressing. He’s cognitively equivalent to a 2-year-old.
Fast-forward nearly 20 years later, and she faces another challenge as her youngest son lives with a rare, incurable cancer. Mrs. Stovall was insistent that her son receive the best treatment quickly. She said she went into panic mode.
“As a mom you expect to fix everything,” she said. “When you realize it’s something you can’t fix, it’s a very hard thing to deal with.”
She added, “When you carry your babies for nine months, your prayer the whole time is that they’re healthy and well. You just have to lean on God and prayer. That was the biggest thing for me is to realize God is in control of everything and he’s got my kids’ best interests at heart.”
She said while she has strong religious faith, it has been shaken at times.
“There’s still days where obviously you question why you have to endure so much,” Mrs. Stovall said. “There’s still days your faith gets shaken a little bit, but you come back.”
Through it all, she is proudest that her adult children are selfless, loving beings.
“My kids have a strong sense of caring for other people,” she said. “Jonathan’s biggest thing is he’s worrying more about how his wife is doing and how me and his dad are doing. He worries about how everybody else is.”
Meanwhile, she’s letting go of the supermom mentality and learning to ask for help when she needs it. It’s a lesson she said any mom could benefit from.
“When you have sick children, you do tend to put all of your energy and time into them — ‘I’m OK. I don’t need anything,’” she said. “But then you find yourself in a fetal position on the floor thinking, ‘I’m not fine. I do need help.’”
Mrs. Stovall, true to the epitome of motherhood, doesn’t want much attention. She humbly shares her story to whoever will listen, but is quick to point out that it’s all about Jonathan. She just wants her son to be healed. With her family by her side, she’s confident that they can face any obstacle that may come.
“You can get through anything with each other,” she said.