Will you send a note?
Today marks the 8th day since my mom had a stroke. She is out of critical care but still needs help breathing on her own. She is trying to communicate, but the old ways of doing so are absent. One squeeze or tap of her right hand means “yes” and two means “no.” When she pushes words out, they are guttural and their meaning is blurry.
But the other evening when I couldn’t be there, Mom’s partner, Sandy, held her phone on speaker so I could say, “I love you, mom.” She responded with more inflection than coherent words, but I heard her say, “I love you too.”
I’m reading a book called My Stroke of Insight by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, to help me understand what Mom is experiencing. Dr. Taylor experienced a stroke at age 37 and lived to write about it years later.
In the book, she compiled a list: Forty Things I Needed Most [after her stroke.] I’ll share some: I am not stupid, I am wounded. Please respect me. Or, Make eye contact with me. I am in here—come find me. Encourage me.
Trust that I am trying—just not with your skill level or on your schedule.
Focus on what I can do rather than bemoan what I cannot do.
Love me for who I am today. Don’t hold me to being the person I was before. I have a different brain now.
One that’s important and where you can help is: Keep me familiar with family, friends, and loving support. Build a collage wall of cards and photos I can see.
Will you help?
If you have a few minutes, mail a note of love and kindness to:
Mom, 924 Braunlin Road, Franklin Furnace, OH 45629
Thank you. xoxo