START Now!!!!!

My Wife Jill, wrote another note to a fellow caregiver…and she didn’t mince words….  Just reading this makes me proud of Jill!

Your question seems to be the most common question among caregivers. Disappointment and frustration mixed with fear and loss often creates an environment where all parties are stuck, unable to move forward. It is an awful place to be.

I have been my husband’s caregiver for 11 years (massive stroke at age 51). We are extremely blessed that he never even considered not recovering.  Full disclosure: the first few years he was so disconnected from reality that he didn’t really know how bad off he was. It took years for him to understand his situation. The good thing was that we had been working so hard on recovery and had made such progress that when he did understand, he was motivated to keep improving. We regularly meet with survivors and caregivers and offer encouragement and perspective.

That all being said, I am an advocate for strength and goal setting. So here it goes:

There are moments in our lives where we have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves “Who am I really?” More importantly, “Who do I want to be?” Is quitting is better than trying? Is today going to be better than yesterday? Did I teach my kids to quit when things get hard? What are they going to see when they see me, now that things are hard? Is it all just about me or do I care how my actions affect others? Does Poor Me EVER end well? 

How you and your husband answer these kinds of questions will help you chart your course foward. Recovery is a choice, a choice we have had to make every day. We decided together that life was still going to be good, and it is!  It is different, but it is good. Hard, but worth the effort.

Our life changed dramatically in an instant, as has yours. I pray you will take this time together to decide what you new life is going to look like. We only live one day at a time so I encourage you to start with that perspective.  Today we will accomplish _____________. Remember that you are in this together. Together, you can create a beautiful life worth living. Start Now!

I just went blank…

I went Blank!

Did you ever go BLANK during a speech?

I pride myself on getting up to the stage, looking at the audience for a few seconds and beginning my talk.

Last night, I was introduced, went up to the podium, TRIED to tie my tie, and began my speech.  But this time, here is what appeared to me:

(PAUSE) (PAUSE) (PAUSE) (PAUSE) 1.…2.…3 ….

I would like to ask you a question:  when was the last time  ask you a question:  that you met, talked to, or simply noticed someone I’m talking about that stranger who walks a little funny, or doesn’t respond normally to you, or looks a little cock-eyed, or distracted, or avoids conversation,well, you know. (LEAN FORWARD) It’s someone who makes you ask yourself, perhaps unconsciously  who just didn’t seem quite “right” to you…. (with irony) I’m not talking about your boss or your spouse! (PAUSE) You know what I mean; or is confined to a wheelchair, or stutters, or shakes, or…… (PAUSE) “What’s wrong with that guy?” (PAUSE) 

What should you do now?

Are you having trouble reading it?  So was I!  I knew the words were in the right…but I couldn’t seem to get the sequence in order.  I remember looking closely,  but I couldn’t make sense of it.  I have been giving the same speech for 3 years, and now it just didn’t make sense.

What should I do now? I was stuck.  Maybe if I just tried to remember what I was supposed to say, everything would be fine. Maybe I was having another stroke?

Has this ever happened to you?

I finished the first page, and then all the words appeared in order.  For a few minutes, I was scared.

When I was all done, I got another standing ovation.   Maybe they were happy that I was finally done!

IMG_0427