“When you live in a world where the day of the week means little to nothing it’s really damn hard to keep track. But when the world without different days drifts along like a piece of flotsam on the trash line you do have to try to stay oriented in the days of that world. Everybody around you knows what day it is and what will be different about this day compared to yesterday and they all look forward to Friday. T.G.I.F. I remember that from the World of Days; “Thank Goodness It’s Friday.” Most of the people around me here on the trash line will have a brighter expression and be somewhat more approachable because it’s Friday. I cannot go about with a Tuesday face.” – DAD
It’s been 9 weeks since Dad contacted us to report that Mom was in ICU after suffering from a major stroke. She was admitted 4 days earlier for treatment for meningitis. She has yet to leave the hospital block. It has, without surprise, been one of the biggest shocks of our lives – as a family. Mom, the sweet and quiet lady, has undoubtedly been the rock of our family. To see her in pain, or unable to care for herself is one the hardest things I have seen or experienced.
The “massive stroke” that struck Mom out of nowhere, was a dense enough stroke to keep her unable to walk, talk, or care for herself. After weeks in rehab, she was walking with assistance, make audible sounds, smiling and feeding herself. At 9 weeks now, Mom is walking unassisted, she is able to complete physical exercises in therapy! The part of recovery that we are at right now is speech. Mom is unable to talk past certain words. Some days she will greet you, respond with yes or no, and randomly ask full questions, “What time is it?” But on most days, she cannot hold conversation or even understand questions or situations. She is mentally unstable. Dad has been going through this heartbreaking experience, alone. He has sat by Mom’s bedside every single day since she was admitted. He has cared for her, read for her, sang for her and cried for her. Dad found himself in the lowest of lows, the darkest of dark and the loneliest of alone. It was 7 weeks before I was able to join him and share the burden… to share the unspeakable, emotional journey. Support from afar is appreciated and wanted, but support within hugging distance is needed.
I spent countless nights of those 7 weeks crying and being so angry at the question of “why?” I felt unridden guilt, every single day, that I could not be there with her, and for him. I grew exhausted with emotion, and began to draw myself from all necessary tasks and needs in my everyday life… including being 100% present in my marriage. I needed to go home. I married a saint of a man, who will find a way for anything, no matter what. My husband put me on a plane for Africa and showed me the way to where I was needed at this time.
10 Days back home. 10 happy and heartbreaking Days with Dad. And 10 Days so close to, and so far away from Mom. There are so many details, moments and stories jam packed into those 10 Days, that one post will not cover it. I believe it will take me more than one post to deflate from the whirlwind of those 10 Days. Some speak of Cloud 9 and how they are not willing to come down. This is no Cloud 9, and I am begging to come down.