Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday's List- 4 years later

Four years ago today I had a stroke.  (That statement is still a shock to me.)  I wrote about it here.  Facing my mortality at age 48 taught me a lot. 

Here is what I learned:
*Our time here is too short.  I learned to say "no" and to avoid the negative and tedious.  My time is a precious commodity. 

*The Mr. meant it when he agreed to "In Sickness and In Health and Til Death Do Us Part." I don't think he slept for weeks. Worrying became his hobby. No one was taken care of better than I was. (And still am for that matter!)

*People are incredibly good.  My colleagues and friends delivered meals for about 3 weeks. Cards arrived daily.  I had phone calls and visits from family, friends, and students past and present.

*Recovery requires work.  Four years later I am still challenging myself.  (Next up:  getting back on a boat.) 

*There is nothing like a near death experience to make you want to "get your house in order," so to speak.

These are some things I never will forget:
*Our little white cocker spaniel, Kiley, parking herself outside the door of my room.  She was "taking care" of me.

*The girls taking a call from a 1990 graduate who had heard about my stroke and wanted to make sure that the Coach and Mrs. E were OK.

*They took another call came from a friend who had divorced and moved away when the girls were little. She said she called to check on me. She'd been gone from my life for so long, I often wondered if she wanted to wipe the dust of Tiny Town off of her forever.

*The University boy who came by one weekend.  He apologized because he knew I wasn't ready for guests yet, but he just wanted to see me to make sure I was really OK like people said. He was tired of relying on 3rd hand information.

*Pat's (I wrote about her here.) oldest daughter coming to visit.  I confessed I had thought a lot about her mom during this whole nightmare.  (It wasn't lost on me that her mom had died of cancer at this exact same age.) I admitted I had worried that my daughters would be dealing with the same thing she had.  She said, "God wouldn't do that to us twice."  And somehow, I could hear her mom saying that exact same thing.

*The sophomore boy who called one Sunday night while he was working on his English homework for my sub.  (I missed the entire 4th nine weeks of school.)  He confessed that he wasn't calling for any particular reason.  He just missed me at school and needed to hear my voice.  That may have been the nicest thing any student has ever said.

K and L were 25 and 23 when this happened.  My stroke wasn't easy on them. 

K became part caretaker.  Her prinicpal let her leave school every afternoon for the first few weeks so that she could take care of me while the Mr. worked afternoons.  She cleaned, cooked, and helped the Mr. make "mixed" drinks for my out-of-whack tastebuds.  She also helped me wash and dry my hair.  She had to use cups to pour water over my head to rinse my hair in the shower-- much like I had done for her at age two.  Poor thing. 

L was going through a disaster of her own.  She was an hour and a half away, but she came home every weekend. I'm not sure she would have if it hadn't been for my stroke.  Most of the time she just curled up on the bed beside me and slept.  She just needed to be close.  Two recoveries were going on at the same time.

I'm pretty sure I'll never know exactly what the girls went through. (Talk about seeing their mom at her absolute weakest!) I do know that the panic in their faces was all it took for me to find the strength not to give up and the will to keep pushing to attempt the difficult.  I couldn't fail them.  Letting them down was not an option.  It still isn't.  The first time I heard this song after the stroke, I cried like a baby.  It still makes my eyes water.    

"In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you'll see
how happy she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes"
Martina McBride Song- Lyrics by James Slater


FlowerLady said...

What a lovely post, even if it was about a scary event in your lives. I am so glad you are here to share, and to make us think about what really is important in life.

Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

margie said...

as you know i can only say, i know what you mean. brings back memories that are far too vivid. as are yours. but slowly we come back, look at us both running!! take care of yourself, do the things you know will keep you safe.

Mary said...

Life really is too short. I love the saying in your header: so true!

Alicia said...

been thinking of you all morning... and reading this post brings tears to my eyes... i can't listen to the song right now (even though i've heard it a thousand times...) because i know i'll just start bawling (and i'm sitting in the tea lounge...) it's amazing what you've overcome.

Kate said...

Mom-I am so proud of you...even though you made me cry this morning. Congratulations on living four jam-packed years of life!
Love you bunches!

Kitty M said...

Mrs E what a fantastic achievement you and your brave family have made, recovering from your stroke and I have merely been moaning about having to clean my house on a Saturday! Things like this really do make me think about the important things so thank you for sharing your story and wishing you all many more years of the best health and happiness xxxxx

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
holybovine said...

It's always great to see you, but it was especially so at the campout that May. xoxo to you!

Katie (Can't Get There) said...

I don't usually visit my blogs on the weekend, but I had to pop over today for your anniversary. And now I am bawling like a baby over here! Nothing is more amazing than the love and support of those 'til death do us part' people in our lives, whether they are husbands, children, siblings, friends... Your post made me think about so many things, but mostly, it made me grateful that you fought so hard and that I've had a chance to make an incredible bloggy buddy. You are an *amazing* woman and your family and friends are so lucky to have you!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're here to write this post that had me tearing up! I still remember calling home to check the answering machine and hearing the message about your stroke. You've come a long way!

See you Monday!
Your modular-mate

Shannon said...

Can relate to this post in so many ways. Especially as a daughter caring for parents. It is a strange paradigm shift, but not without its own joys and rewards. I am so glad to be reading this post from you today! You are an inspiration to me and so many others from the way it sounds!! Happy 4th and here's to many more to come!

Gayle said...

Oh, mrs. e, you've got me all teared up! You are an amazing woman and I am so glad to know you!

ELK said...

my mom had a massive stroke at a much older is a horrible thing for mom and are a wonder and I am happy to visit here...the way you describe L. and what she did touched me the most...daughters still need their moms....

Ragamuffin Gal said...

This post gave me chills and goosebumps! It also brought tears to my eyes and a happy feeling to my heart! Your are such a great writer and I just love to read about your journeys ~ thanks for sharing this wonderful story with us and helping us feel with you. I am so glad you have such amazing people around you and all of that love! I am so glad you are still here with us! Love you!