On March 20th my life as I knew it changed.
I woke up that morning, like any other morning. At 6:30am, I stumbled down the stairs with both kids, still half asleep. I pulled a coffee mug out of the cupboard, and my almost 2 year old daughter requested to ‘sit counter’ to help mommy make the elixer of life.
Coffee made, cereal poured into bowls for the kids, and Paw Patrol on the t.v which would hopefully distracted them long enough for me to finish my coffee. Hopefully.
I took a few minutes to look down at my phone and catch up on facebook and any text messages I had recieved while I was slumbering for the night.
A text message from my dad, how odd. My dad barely knows how to operate his phone, and a text message is completely out of character.
He was informing me that he had taken my mom to the hospital. Immediately, I was concerned. I wasn’t overly worried – just the other day mom had told me that she came home from work early not feeling well, and that she had a fever and wasn’t up to our nightly conversation.
However, the next few text messages from my dad completely changed my concern to near panic.
My mom had a stroke.
At 54, my mom had a stroke. And it wasn’t looking great. Her entire left side was paralyzed, and she was unable to speak.
Against my intense daughter need to get on the next flight out of here to be at my mom’s side, I listened to my dad and waited.
The next week and a half was intense. I was in constant communication with my dad. Mom wasn’t making improvements, and she had come down with pneumonia on top of everything else. I desperately wanted to be there by her side. But dad kept telling me to hold off. He thought that it would be best to wait until our planned trip in June and that bringing the whole family down would give mom something to not only look forward to, but work towards.
That week and a half was a blur for me. There were lots of tears, minimal sleep, and lots of confusion. I understood my dad’s request. Completely. My mom is not the type of person that wants to even admit she has a headache. She would not want me to see her like this. But every instinct and every fibre in my body was telling me to go, and be at her side. Fighting against that instinct was one of the hardest things I have had to do.
You have to understand, my mom is my best friend. She’s not just my mom, she’s my sounding board, she’s my advice giver, she’s who I laugh with the most. She will listen to me vent or rant about the silliest things without judgement. She acknowledges my deepest worries with understanding – never telling me that it’s silly to worry about that. Every night we would talk on the phone for about an hour. Every. Single. Night.
This new world of not being able to talk to my mom not only had be concerned for her well being, but also threw me for a loop – it sounds silly, but at 28 years old, I had to learn to function in a world where my mom couldn’t offer me advice, or listen to my worries, or just simply remind me of the person that I am, and who I want to be.
I was lost. I know it sounds ridiculous. But I was utterly and undoubtedly lost.
The guilt. I can’t even put into words how much the guilt of not getting on that flight to be by her side was eating me alive – 3 weeks later, it still is. I still doubt myself, wondering if I made the correct decision.
Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m not alone. I didn’t have to face any of this alone and without support. My husband is an incredible man. He helped me pick up the pieces of my broken world. He wouldn’t question why in the middle of washing a plate, I would just break down in tears. No questions, he would just wrap me in his arms until the moment passed. We are close. We do talk about everything under the sun – and then some.
But he can’t replace my mom.
I am forever grateful to all the incredible people that have pulled together to be there for my mom when I couldn’t be. You will never fully understand how it made my heart swell with hope, love, and pride. I can never repay you all for your kindness.
The many facebook messages, emails, phone calls, and text messages I have recieved the past 3 weeks offering your love and support, have brought tears to my eyes. I know my mom is an incredibly strong, beautiful and caring woman. And to hear that so many people in this world can see her through my eyes, and see her the same way that I do, means more to me than even I can comprehend.
Thank you to each and every person that has reached out. Thank you to the doctors and nurses looking after my mom. Thank you to her physical therapists for helping her to get back up again. Thank you to her speech therapist for helping bring back her voice. Thank you to the friends who have been spending time with my mom and keeping her spirits up. Thank you to the same friends who have also been making sure my dad is taking care of himself. Thank you.
Thank you will never be enough, but right now, it’s all I have. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being the wonderful, incredible, kind and generous people that you are.
She still has a long road ahead of her, but with all your love and support, I have no doubt that she will come out of this stronger than ever. xoxo