People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. -Elizabeth Kübler-Ross-
My father had a massive stroke years ago which literally took away half of his brain, and left him pretty beat up physically and neurologically. He’s not quite the man he once was, in many important ways, but what remains outstanding about him is his optimism. When you ask him how he is, he usuallly answers “I woke up this morning” as if that in itself is enough.
My parents, who have been together since high school, had a stroke, because in many ways it affects my mother more than my father. He's seemingly unaware of just how dramatically different he is, but she is still the same. She takes care of him. They are dealing with this together, because that is their choice. And their true beauty is revealed as their light shines from within.
Dad is completely paralyzed on one side and spends the day in a wheelchair. He needs a lot of help physically. It takes him quite a bit longer to formulate and deliver a sentence. He can’t hear very well, has only a few teeth left in his mouth and has the attention span of five minutes on a good day. Mom is pretty much as peppy and perky as ever, and tries to keep her own life, apart from him, going, but they're so intertwined, her life is his life. She does manage to have friends, play the piano, volunteer, and be involved in the culture and politics of their town.
My parents were visionaries and were always working towards some kind of dream. They had wonderful ideas that motivated their days, and the excitement of their endeavors was what kept them going. Those were the times of sparkling and shining when the sun was out.
Dad went into a nursing home for a couple of years, but they decided he was better off at home with her. That was several years ago. Now they're creeping towards their eighties and the going is getting tougher.
They live on the other side of the country from me and my family. I wish they didn't but that is the way the cookie crumbled. One of my brothers lives on the same property, so that is a relief, and the only reason I can sleep at night.
Dad's world revolves around himself, breakfast, lunch, dinner, the computer, Scrabble, card games, and what’s on television. He does manage to write two short columns for an online newspaper called The Mariposa Gazette- one on nature and one on politics. http://www.goldrushcam.com/2009/james%20heth/2009%20james%20heth%20archives.htm
He's been on a waiting list for a nursing home for quite sometime now. They did have an opening once, but they declined. The whole situation is an absolute struggle in so many ways.
However in spite of all that they are dealing with, when asked how things are going, my mother usually says “Things are pretty good”, and Dad answers the phone as he always has “Captain Splendid here, What can I do for you today?”