Life seems to be coasting along and then suddenly, with the blink of an eye...it all changes. Last Wednesday, March 16, 2011, my Mother collasped in her home. After many tests, they finalized she had a mini-stroke or TIA. My mom will be 74 in April. She works full-time and drives everywhere. She travels extensively and has the same group of friends she has had since elementary school. Now, this has all changed...with the snap of a finger! She is now reliant on people to walk, sit up, eat and even go to the bathroom. It is heart-breaking to look into her eyes and see how she has come to realize that her life will be changing. Her short-term memory has suffered, yet she can remember things from over 60 years ago. They say this is common with at stroke. Her balance is off and her stamina is so much shorter. Her near future is still left to be determined as far as where she will live and how she will occupy her free time... But, I am thankful she is still here !!!
Needless to say, our lives have been altered as well as my Mom's. I have changed my work schedule thanks to my amazing bosses, who have worked with me so I can be with my Mom every day. I put Kiernan on the bus at 6:30 am and am to work by 7:00 am. I am off at 3:30 pm and head straight to the hospital, where I stay until 8:00 or 9:00 pm. Then home I go!! Patrick has taken over the cooking and every day running of the house. On weekends, we have our regular functions; ie, Little Patrick's baseball, Deirdre's church functions, and this last weekend, Caitlin's Special Olympics---she won a Silver medal in bowling, etc. Some of the children go with me on the weekend to visit their MeMaw..those that can handle a few hours at the hospital. Usually a couple on Saturday and a couple on Sunday.
Having raised 6 children, 5 on varying levels of the Autism Spectrum, I have a great amount of patience. I pride myself on my husband's and my patience level. We have been tested numerous times in our 20 year marriage. This past 2 weeks, I have been reminded how very strong our bond is. Through Patrick's stregnth, I have found my own. Our children have all stepped up to the plate as well. They are well-behaved and helping out around the house. They all have matured so very well and we are so proud of the young adults they are becoming.
Caitlin, our oldest and Kiernan, our youngest and most affected by autism, have raised to this challenge as well. They are remaining calm and happy during this big change in their life.
I am sure, no matter what lies ahead on the next chapter of our lives, we will continue to be the strong family unit we always have been. I have been inspired by many this past 2 weeks-My family for coming together and allowing me to be with my Mom as much as possible. -My work place...which I love so very much, for allowing me to readjust my schedule and for caring about me and my mom enough to do so. -My friends..for rallying together and making my life a bit less stressful than it should be...and shame on you (you know what I mean!!) and most of all.. -My MOM, for showing me what it means to fight hard and never give up. To persevere beyond all odds and to keep fighting for your dignity and your health.
You all inspire me to be a better me...and I thank you all for that !!