“I’ve been thinking about maybe planning a dinner, with friends or something.. “
I said calmly to Ricardo about a month ago. “A dinner for what?” He replied. “You, know, .. something to get my mind off on my stroke anniversary…”
I tossed and turned all night. When they say history repeats itself, they’re telling the truth. A year ago I was waking up and dealing with my own identity crisis and last night, just like clockwork, I was laying in bed, wide awake, wondering who I was and if I had actually been able to find my way throughout this past year. I thought I did. I let myself get carried away with the excitement of planning a dinner for a table of a quiet 15 as a celebration of what a simple human can achieve in a full year. Walking from my car to the front door of the bank this morning building broke my heart. I was exhausted. Just like January 20th, 2014, I woke up tired, upset, hurt, confused and spent my day with a throbbing headache, afraid that the signs could have led to another stroke, but I do incredibly well under pressure, and I remained calm until 6pm. It wasn’t even an hour before the dinner I had planned when text messages and phone calls started pouring in with different reasons as to why people would not be able to make it to the dinner that I had been so terribly afraid of actually planning.
The party of 15, turned into a party of 2.
And after 40 minutes of attempting to make myself numb with alcohol, we left.
It’s been a full year, and my heart could burst with the pain it has carried for these 365 days.
Oh my God what a journey this has been for me physically and emotionally. I go back to that moment when I looked at my Dad in the eyes after trying, with everything I had in me, to move my leg, and completely lost it when I just couldn’t. The moment when the doctors came in to tell Ricardo, my father and I that the dark spot on the images was a massive bleed in my brain, changed my life forever. I was prepared to face the physical damage, I could take anything head on and be ok, but the emotional damage and strain it has placed on my life has slowly turned me into a person without any sort of direction.
Laying on that bed in the hospital forever changed me. The nurse came in at 10pm that night and explained that if or when I stopped breathing, the monitors would alert the ICU team that I was crashing and they would be right outside my door to begin resuscitation. I turned and looked at Ricardo, the absolute love of my life, not ready to find out if the bleed would continue on to the point that it would affect my basic functions of life in the hours ahead of us..He held my hand until I could no longer fight my exhaustion any longer.. and I woke up the next day to see Ricardo, still in his work clothes from the previous day and calmly sleeping next to my bed.
Looking out of a 16×40 inch window to the view outside was so painful. I couldn’t get up and move to the chair less than a foot away just to watch the birds fly by. I couldn’t walk over and grab the phone charger that fell on the floor.. I couldn’t get up and get that bottle of apple juice that was taunting me while sitting on my table a foot away, I couldn’t even text Ricardo that I loved him and I missed him while he was working. I was physically incapable of it. I couldn’t move. I would raise my bed to a sitting position and would have to call in 2 nurses every hour to painfully pull my body and all my right side dead weight back up to how I was laying an hour ago because my dead weight would slowly move my body further down the bed. I contemplated everything from work to the relationship with the man who had never stopped supporting me through anything, Ricardo. I hurt, and it still hurts. I may owe my life to the Dr, the PA, and the team in the operating room who stood and fought for me, my brain, and what function it still had for six hours, but I owe my strength to Ricardo, who never stopped reminding me that one day I would walk into a room full of people like nothing had ever happened... and here I am, telling my story to the world, and shocking people we have met on a daily basis who ask me to explain why I just said that I couldn’t feel my leg.
Its been a full year, and I’m still going through that journey of learning how to heal in a healthy way.
I want to tell all of you that my first year journey ended up with a happily ever after sentence at the end and a smile on my face, but it didn’t. Sitting in that restaurant with my martini in hand, I knew that these were going to be the toughest 10 days I would face in a very long time, and I wasn’t prepared to face that fact. I won’t know what happily ever after even means without learning the ability to fully stand and bite through the pain on my own, without a man to stand there and hold me up when the world crushes its weight around me. 365 days and all I have left to say is that I am a just a human. I am a human who has had to sometimes face lifes struggles alone when I should have opened up and spoke about it. I am a person who has many emotions and I am slowly learning how to turn those powerful feelings into actual words with people instead of having them appear on a screen before your eyes. I am a human who has waited far too long in life to learn how love a friends company when it surrounds me. I waited too long, and I hope that you stubborn ones can wake up and be able to open up to the idea of actually stopping and smelling those roses. Pulling over on the side of the road to stare at that gorgeous sunset behind us. Telling your loved ones that you actually think about them on a daily basis. Doing those little things that make life as incredible as God intended it to be. One day I’m going to possess the heart of a truly beautiful soul, someone who takes their time and can appreciate every small action that someone may show me. One day I’m going to wake up and appreciate these moments that I have experienced and appreciate them for what they were instead of feeling embarrassed or left speechless by the words on the screen.. one day.