After my stroke, I cried two times about the events that had unfolded. Both times I sobbed alone in my hospital room. I needed that time by myself to quietly grieve what had been lost. Once those two episodes passed, I was free to move on and accept my future with great hope. I am still glad I took that time for myself. I am glad I finished the phase of shock and fear. Utter fear. With that released, I was able to pick myself up and focus on the positive possibilities my future held.
The first time I cried was the night of my ten-year class reunion. I spent the night not comparing stories with my peers of the years gone by. Rather, I spent that night alone crying in a hospital bed. That was the first time I allowed tears after my surgery and stroke. That was the first time I allowed self-pity.
There I was all of twenty-seven years. Rather than hair done up for the event, I had my bald head wrapped in a scarf to hide the incision. Rather than partying and dancing, I was wondering if my fingers would ever again move by their own free will. I cried selfish tears. Tears that fell for memories of how far I had come and how far I had recently fallen. In the yearbook’s question of where do you expect yourself to be in ten years, I never thought to answer bald in a bed with a paralyzed body and a missing piece of my brain.
Please, do not cry for me. I did not shed tears for long. Actually, my tears quickly turned to a deep chuckle that brought laughter up through my soul. I did not have much. I was no longer able to drive a car. Yet, I figured after a late-night party, my classmates really should not be driving a car either. I knew that I could currently not walk without someone’s arms around my waist to help hold me up. A chuckle arose again as I wondered which of my classmates would need an arm around them as they stumbled home for the night. And in the morning, I would not hurt. My world would not be consumed by a pounding headache. I would wake refreshed and ready to meet with my physical and occupational therapists. Yes, I had fallen a long, long way. Yet, I was at an advantage over many twenty-seven year-olds that night. I had the chance to learn the basics of life all over again and be aware this time that I try my hardest to never leave a stone of life unturned. Every time I touched a piece of the world, I now would understand the true value of leaving it a little better in case I never had a chance to walk the same path again. In those previous weeks, I gained wisdom I never searched for but would never dream of allowing myself to forget.
NEXT WEEK: Next week I will continue this post. Stop back and discover with me what it is like when the piano can only be played within a mind when fingers no longer work. It was okay to cry again. Hope can be found through the tears. Click on subscribe to have these posts directly sent to your inbox.