It feels good to help

Needless to say, one of the most frustrating parts of my stroke experience has been being “the patient”.  I was so fortunate to have incredible support from my family and friends when I needed it most.  For months I needed help with so much.  I still need more help and support than I did before my stroke, but I’m lucky to have regained my independence in so many ways.

And of course I’m not happy when anyone else is in a position to need help, but it sure feels good to be able to offer some when needed.  And that’s true for nobody more than my mom.  Not only has she given me so much for all 60 years of my life, but she also put her life on hold 7 years ago when I had my stroke to come live with us. She was indispensable not only to me, but also to my husband Steve who with her support could put more “normalcy” back in his life much sooner than he otherwise could have.

Right after a great trip to Philly and NYC with my mom to visit with my two sons (pictured below), my mom went into the hospital with severe abdominal pains.  I’m pleased to say she was out in a few days and is now pretty much back to normal.  But I was so glad that, learning of her crisis on a Wednesday night, I could fly to LA on Thursday morning and spend more than a week with her.  She didn’t need a lot, but just as I had valued the presence and support of family when I was in need, I know she was really happy that I was there.  I may not have been able to move heavy things, or run around quickly, but it certainly was a great feeling to be able to help her despite the ongoing disabilities that are, at least for now, just part of who I am.

As I’m drafting my book, I’m thinking a lot about “silver linings”.  I don’t love that expression because it somehow sounds like you’re trying to say “the stroke was a good thing.”  NO WAY!  But that doesn’t mean there can’t be some good things that have resulted.  I’m trying to recognize, acknowledge, and even celebrate these small ways in which something good has come from my stroke.  In this case, my work life has changed so that it was much easier for me to put my life on hold to spend 10 days in LA helping my mom.  That, I think, is in fact a small silver lining.