I'm 20 years old and I'm the oldest of three sons (my brothers are 18 and 13 years old). December of 2001, my mother suffered a stroke, slipped into a coma for a little bit, was hospitalized for a month or so, and was left with the left side of her body paralyzed. We are Korean American, and before the event she spoke near fluent English, and now she lost almost all of her English and speaks Korean in stutters. I remember the very first time I visited her at the hospital and I am 90% sure that the moment I saw her (head half shaven, wires all over) was the moment that wrecked my mind and blossomed my anxiety.
She used to be very physically fit, and now seeing her walk with a limp and her arm by her side, it destroys a small part of me every time.
She used to absolutely love music. She was somewhat of a piano phenom and would always talk of how she wanted to learn guitar to play to us. And now I cant remember the last time she's listened to a song in the car or at home.
It's even hard to communicate with her because of her lack of English skills and my handicap with Korean.
I dont know how these support groups work, nor have I been very vocal with my peers about these troubles, as I don't know anyone else who has experienced a stroke. But I would just like to know how it is on my mother's side of table, you know? I dont mean to pity her, I just always feel bad. Maybe I'm having a harder time dealing with this than she has?
I just felt the need to express myself through this thread. thank you.
First of all, welcome to our group. We are very pleased you have found us, and I hope we can offer you all the support and understanding that you need. Everything you mention are all perfect reasons to come here and vent your feelings, and hopefully gain some insight into your mothers situation and your own feelings about the whole thing. We are both stroke survivors and loved ones of those who have had strokes, so you are in the perfect place.
I really feel for you and your brothers, seeing your strong and vibrant mother loose so much while you are at the ages where you need her for so many things. I can promise you that your well being is likely the very most important thing in her mind and her love for you is complete, no matter how difficult it may be for her to express. I am also a mother of two sons, the youngest being only 9 years old when I had 4 strokes at one time. That was nine years ago, so I feel I have so much in common with you and your family. Although it took many years for me to come back to the point I have, I still struggle with concerns that I cannot do enough for my children, and wonder how it has hurt them.
Is your mother home with you? I would encourage you to spend as much time with her as you can, as there is nothing in this world that means more to her than having the love and company of her children and other family members around her. While she may have many difficulties expressing herself in the ways we are used to, we can develop many other ways to communicate when our words are not available. I hope you have found some of those ways, and continue to look deep inside for more ways to show and receive her love. I imagine if you look deeply into her eyes, and allow her to do the same, you will find a sense of her feelings and emotions.
All of us here would love to learn more about you and your family and offer you any words of encouragement we can to help you cope with this very difficult situation. Feel free to use this place any way like, whether it is just a place to share all these thoughts and feelings that have surely built up inside you, or to seek advice on things that interest you about us. We are here to help, and offer you our most sincere and loving welcome.
thank you so very much for your beautiful words.
As for your worries, please dont ever feel that you cannot do enough for your children. I find that my mother often tries too hard to do "enough" for us, when all I would like to see is her relaxing and enjoying herself.
Very rarely do we as a family speak of her stroke. When we do, my father just refers to "the day she fell". Do you think she understands and knows that we love her?
Just imagining it hurts so bad, it shuts out everything around me, no matter where I might be or what I might be doing. I've wanted to open up to her about it and hope to do so soon, I'm just very afraid of even approaching the topic. But I feel that it's something that I have to do with the time we're given. Any suggestions/tips on approaching the conversation?
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Thank you so much for your expression of how you feel about your mothers efforts to share her love and care for you, when you only want her to be comfortable and relaxed.That really taught me something about the strength our children have, and how you feel. That was a very sweet and meaningful gesture you shared with me.
I encourage you to speak of the event, as it is a very real and significant thing in each of your lives. Stroke is a huge elephant in the room if you do not identify it as the cause of all the changes in all of your lives. It was not a fall, it was the stroke. The new term the American Stroke Society is beginning to use is a "brain attack", as it much more clearly represents what actually happens during a stroke. One minute we are the people everyone has grown to love and understand over our lifetimes, and the next we are completely changed forever. While in so many ways we are the same, we cannot communicate that self. What is left is so mis-understood and so scary to everyone, the stroke survivor the most of all. Strokes are also completely unique to each of us who live to tell about it. I also feel that each of us that survive stroke is left with a message or a lesson to share with whom ever needs to hear it most. That person may be you. The fact that you are reaching out makes that even more likely in my eyes. There is always something in perceived tragedy that provides important lessons to those who are willing to look a bit deeper.
For me, it has been the opportunity to come from that place of darkness and quiet, to share what I learned while behind that wall of confusion and fear. I learned the beauty of the simplest of moments. I learned the value of real love. I learned the impact of another persons time with me,when they could be doing so many other things.
I do not want any one to feel sorry for me, and I doubt your mother wants that either. I want them to see my courage and fight to come back. I have to imagine that is what your mother wants to show you. Watch her fight and tell her you see her doing it. Every bit of progress is such a struggle and such a slow process.
I think it is important to speak of the stroke, and every part of its effect on each of you family members, especially your younger brothers. Everyone needs an outlet to relieve themselves of all the pent up emotions that can be buried, and so hard to bring back up later. It is ok to cry, to yell out and to curse that wretched stroke that did this to your family. Otherwise, some of us can put the blame on ourselves or one each other, and that is not healthy. Stroke is a horrible thing, and it is not the fault of anyone.
As with all horrible and difficult experiences in life, it is our job to take some sort of lesson from them to be used in our lives. Without deep loss, we cannot truly enjoy pure joy. Please try to find the lesson for you in this life experience and share that message with your brothers, to give them something to grow from.
Janet is a magical writer, a person with unmatched abilities for support, for caring. A marvel. Want to echo all she says so beautifully.
If anything, a stroke can awaken and intensify love. We get a sharp jolt of awareness to the fragile nature of existence. You are too young for this, but you are remarkable rising to the task.
The brain is a miraculous organ: it wants to be well, it wants to recover what was lost, it has great plasticity. That is the hope you want to hold onto. A stroke is a great shock to everyone and yet others will find strengths inside themselves they never thought they had. With love and patience you can all help each other. Every day there is hope for recovery and improvement.
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Thank you for the very kind words. It seems our thoughts on what these events can mean in our lives are similar. I hope our young friend finds some comfort in these words.
I came back to see if you had been back, and I look forward to hearing from you again. You are a very expressive writer, and I can see how getting many of these thoughts down could be very helpful to you. I know it always has been for me.
here is a book called my Stroke of Insight It is written by a scientist that had a stroke she is also on the internet Her name is Jill Bolt Taylor. Your Mom is in there and she needs you Hug her often.
Thank you for checking up on me. I guess that's another thing, ever since my mother's stroke, I've grown to fend for myself and it's nice to hear that someone's thinking about me as well.
I have not been on since last time I responded, and I guess it's because of a combination of laziness and being burnt out by work. I work 9am-5pm Monday thru Friday at my dad's small insurance agency office. I'm spending this next year working and getting certified as a personal trainer before going back to school in a year. It's just me, my dad, and my mom at the office and my dad has been staying at home for a couple weeks now because of his gout, so my mother and I have been spending a lot of time together.
She moved to America in 1990 with a degree in English Literature, but after the stroke she has lost almost all of her English skills. It's really tough to see her at the office struggling with her English and getting really sad. I always tell her to just be confident, as she has lost that courageous spark in her, and I'm always sending her certain online deals for Rosetta Stone so that she can pick it back up - the amount of appreciation she has at these moments really makes me wish that I could do more to help.
In a year, I'll be leaving this office and she wants to be able to work in here without any help (I translate for her), so I'm going to do all I can to help her reach that goal. My current fear is that when it's time for me to leave, I don't want to feel like I'm abandoning her.
And flwrme, thank you very much for the book suggestion. I'm going to look it up right away, it sounds really interesting. And I give my mom a hug whenever I leave or return to the house
ps: She has a cough that wont go away. It's not a severe or violent-sounding cough, but she coughs multiple times every single day - something I noticed about a year ago. Any Ideas?? I tell her to get it checked out but she brushes aside my suggestions. I wish she would take care of herself.