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Brittany Tucker-Mcneal

Cleveland, OH

Human Resources Professional

February 28,2020 was the day I seen my mom take her last breath. Prior to this date I would say I was managing very well. I can recall my mom being sick from diabetes, starting at the age of 15. It wasn’t until my freshman year in college that her illness would get so bad, she would need to retire from work. I had my son December 2009 at the age of 23. 6 months later my mother went into a diabetic coma that would leave her paralyzed from the shoulders down (quadriplegic). This is when life changed drastically! Caring for a 6-month-old, working, in graduate school, and caring for a parent who now will need 24-hour care was stressful. Let’s add that my mother and I lived 4 hours apart.


I was very blessed to have a good support system to help me along the way, as this would be my new normal for 10 years. I would drive from Cleveland to Dayton weekly for the first two years, and then every other week from year 3-5, then monthly. Thankful for technology because she couldn’t physically call me on her own devices, but special medical staff made sure my mom and I would talk 2000 times a day.


My mother was everything to me. She was a single parent making sure I had the best of everything. As any amazing parent sometimes putting herself second when she shouldn’t have. During the 10 years of her illness, I can say it made me strong as I knew one day things would be different. We created a lot of memories together but to never get a hug from your mom again, was so hard. While my friends would be able to take their moms on trips and other fun mother/daughter excursions, ours was only inside of her nursing home. Never did I complain but deep inside I wanted things to be different.


In 2019 I had my daughter, wow a 10-year gap between my kids and my mother was so excited. They were supposed to share the same birthday, but she came a week early. The first time they met I knew all the love my mom had for me was the same way I would feel with my daughter. Again, life was good until I received a call 6 months later stating that my mom was found unresponsive. This time her illness could not be reversed. I had 17 great days with my mom before she passed away.


During those days we talked about so much, took pictures, had a mini sleepover with her girlfriends and a mini gathering with her siblings. Even though all of this was going on, I never thought about life without my mom. This was my new normal for 10 years so I was scared to think about it.


After her passing I hit a huge void/depression I felt so incomplete. Then by my surprise I would be pregnant again. Here I am trying to figure out life with three kids, manage to run two businesses, and work a full-time job. I would say I was doing too much and just when I thought I was coping and managing - my father passed away. At the age of 35, I was parentless. I was scared to ask, “why me?”. Many people asked me how do I keep pushing? My response is a great support system, a therapist, and learning to give yourself grace!

Brittany Tucker-Mcneal
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