Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Stroke: Part 3

     It was the night of the Capital Christian Homeschool Bands spring concert and recital. All the students were positioned on stage, instruments in hand. The auditorium was filled with parents, siblings and friends of students and my grandmother was in the audience for the first time. There was only one person missing.
     The audience grew quiet as one of the band parents walked to the front of the auditorium to introduce the Wind Ensemble and it's director. I could see my dad as he stepped onto the stage and was handed the microphone. He stood with his back towards me.
     “Yesterday, my wife Jennifer was on her way to the dress rehearsal when she had what we thought was an attack of vertigo. She was taken to the hospital where she stayed overnight. We brought her back this morning only to receive a phone call from the hospital telling us she should go back to the hospital as soon as she could.
     A specialist diagnosed her with having had a double stroke. Blood was cut off to two areas of her brain.”
     It was hard to hear my dad recount the story. I couldn't see his face, but I could tell from his voice that he was not far from tears. I could feel a knot welling up in my throat and tried to blink the moistness from my eyes. When my dad finished speaking and turned to direct the band, his expression was one of sadness.
     After the concert was ended, my father dropped us off at home and went back to the hospital. 
     During the concert, my mother was alone in the hospital. She seemed to be doing well at the time, but she had no idea of the long road to recovery that lay ahead of her. The cerebellar stroke would effect the days to come in ways none of us expected. She discovered only later on that it had been caused by a neck trauma from her most recent chiropractic adjustment. She and my father were to spend another two nights in the hospital. My sisters and I were to spend another two and a half days at the house by ourselves.
     Thursday, March 8th rolled around. It was my sixteenth birthday and my aunt and grandmother had come to our house to visit and help out. We were all hoping that Mom would come home and were waiting for news. It was a long day for the whole family.
     In the past few days, my world had been shaken by the sudden absence of my mother's strong support. I was unsure of what to expect of her behavior when she came home. It was late in the afternoon, almost evening, when my parents came home at last.
     My mother was on medicine for intense, debilitating migraines and headaches for two weeks. During that time, Jenae and I were in charge of homeschooling and running the house. It would have been nearly impossible but for the help of our church family and friends. They brought us three meals a day, every day. The kindness and care of our friends was the best encouragement we had. It was a reminder of the love and bond between brothers and sisters in Christ.
     Over the next several months my mother struggled with intense anxiety and deep sadness. There was always the fear in our minds that she would never recover fully. We all wondered if she would always struggle with emotional turmoil. Her graciousness and Godly spirit were amazing to me. Even through the fear, she trusted in God. She constantly relied Psalms and prayer to alleviate her fears and calm her heart. She knew her recovery would be a long process, but neither of us understood how long it would take.

     I remember being in the car with my dad as we drove home one night, a few weeks later. We were alone and we had been talking about mom.
     "Don't tell your mother this..." He began, "but I think it's going to take her a lot longer to recover than we thought. The doctor thinks it will take at least six months for her to function normally again and a year to be completely normal."

     I never doubted the existence of God, nor that He was the God of the Bible. I knew He was omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. In that sense, my belief remained unshaken, but when I saw bad things happen to others and myself, I began to wonder if He really cared about us. I labored to understand what good He was working through this.
     If you don't hold a solid understanding of the purpose of trials and suffering, it's easy to be taken down. Through everything you must remind yourself that God loves you no matter what happens and He your ultimate best in mind, through everything. If you don't believe that God allows bad things to happen for a reason than you won't learn from your trials, and every death, hurt or trial will be for nothing. Your faith in God will decrease and not increase as He intends. These were all things my mother and I have had to learn, are still learning now and we will probably continue to learn them throughout our lives. They are lessons that everyone (whether they realize it or not) must learn, though some choose not to.
     The realization that God has total control of your life can be either the most frightening or the most reassuring and comforting thing you'll ever discover. For us, His children, that means we have the powerful, knowledgeable and loving eternal God on our side.

Isaiah 26:4
4Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

John 10:27-3027My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30I and my Father are one.

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Previous posts: The Stroke: Part 1The Stroke: Part 2,
Related Posts: Fear"Well, Actually, I'm Taller Than I Look": Spiritual Growth


  1. Yes, it's a true story. My mom had a stroke this March and is still on the road to recovery. It's still hard, but she is doing a lot better now.

  2. I'm glad to hear she is doing better. I thought it was a true story because you wrote it so vividly - especially the first two parts.

    I was just reading Psalm 40:5 this morning which says, "Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of t hem, they would be too many to declare." I was thinking of all the times in the past when I have been in a tough situation and God helped me through it. I hope and pray your mother will continue to recover. : )

  3. Thank you for blogging this experience. I had my stroke when my daughters were age 3 and the other was still only 11months old and still being breastfed.
    I am still learning about the depths of His grace and I'm thankful for being given another chance to see my daughters grow.