There is so much about a stroke that is a mystery. You really can go months, years without seeing every corner of the damage or recognize the points of recovery. There are different degrees of strokes. Some people recover quickly and gain everything back. Others struggle for months and then recoup. Some never recover. Some recover partially. We have met many people who had a stroke or know someone who did, they all seem to be different.
I often watch my husband in wonder. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to have areas of your body that are paralyzed or partially paralyzed. To me it would mean feeling trapped and how do you ever escape that feeling. I have seen my husband drop his hand into extremely hot food and not feel it. He often carries something in that hand and is looking everywhere for it because he cannot feel it in his grip. Then I watch him do push ups, lift weights wrapping that hand around the bar to grasp it. I am amazed.
Somewhere in the deep recesses of his brain is all his knowledge, memories, ability to speak. It is hidden from him. The good news is that it is not staying hidden. There are moments of clear recollection, there is the muscle memory which enables him to work out and have amazing strength and tone at the age of almost 70. Because of his stroke he exercises daily. He pushes bad food away and eats very healthy. His joy and emotion are so expressive.
He is able to focus without distraction on his exercise and reading. He reads everything, he never stops. His desire to be the best no matter what condition his body is in is without description. His thankfulness and spritiual love for God cannot be topped. It is clear and present even if the words are jumbled when he prays.
They way he loves his brother, and tries very hard to joke and talk to him on the phone. When he sits or stands outside and waves and says hello to people in the neighborhood. The way everyone here talks about what a miracle he is and how they cannot believe his recovery. He is literally a walking testimony to God’s love , grace and healing.
The joy that is mine when we have a normal conversation. The joy that is mine when he told me just recently that he is very happy. The joy that is mine when he calls me Mama because he cannot say my name. The joy that is mine when he proudly cleans the floors, carries the laundry and groceries and works in the yard. The joy that is mine when he tells me he loves me and I am so good to him. The joy that is mine when thanks me for shaving his face. The joy that is mine as I sit next to him and watch TV or take a walk.
Memorial Day always brings great emotion as I think about how he fought in Vietnam and survived and so many did not. It brings great emotion to him as he remembers those that gave all, this is not obscured by the Stroke. I am so thankful for all those who thought my life and liberty were so important they gave their lives. I am so thankful he did not have to give his.