Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival~ Missing My Old Life

Well  this week I performed the wedding ceremony for the family friend that wouldn't take "no" for an answer. I had been taping my reading of the ceremony since December to try and work on my aphasia issues. Yes, I wrote a special ceremony just for them using words I knew I would have no trouble with.

Even though it wasn't a paid for service, I was excited to go back to at least some of my old life. It was the beginning and the end of a nine-month hope of returning to my old life.

The couple chose the courthouse garden in between the historic courthouse and the new one. For February, it was a beautiful day. Not too cold or not too warm. No no-see-ems (gnats) or pesky mosquitoes to mar the ceremony. The couple chose this spot because it had easy access for me with ramps and paved walkways. There was no way I could walk through sandy beaches or tree roots to trip me up. They chose mid-afternoon so I could get my rest in. They dressed up a folding chair for me if I needed it, I didn't. In other words, they tailored the wedding according to my abilities which was sweet.

Everyone gathered around the bride and groom as is my custom. With my voice being low, I wanted everyone to hear. It started off well until my aphasia kicked it. There were long pauses as I searched for the words and how to pronounce them. I had the written text in front of me. I always print my ceremonies with double spaced lines in between the sections, break to sentences down to be read in one breath especially those where the couple has to repeat what I say, and in a 16-point font. You'd think that I had all the bases covered. I did except for my mind.

I'm just glad I was surrounded by friends and family! At one point the bride reached out her hand and gave me a reassuring smile and a wink. Of course, the giggles took over then. All of it came with my stroke. The difficulties- talking, reading and inappropriate responses. The bride made it worse by saying in a minister-like tone, "Let us pause, while the minister gets back her composure."

The witnesses, family, friends, and bridal party then joined in with raucous laughter which set me off for longer. Needless to say, all weddings have their little glitches and it went downhill from there. By the end of what was supposed to be a twenty-minute ceremony, it was closer to thirty-five minutes, they were officially married.

I realized that I've missed out on so much since my stroke because of my stroke. While I have spoken with the ladies at the courthouse and the probate judge, this was the first time I'd seen them in nine months. A far cry from the sometimes two to sixteen times a week I was seeing them.

They expressed their missing me with hugs. They cried and I cried. We'd had so many good times since I branched out to include weddings in my services provided two  years ago. So many stories and family events passed across that counter. Saddened by my lack of multilingual skills aside, they are my friends. I was one of the few ministers in town they could call to translate Spanish, Russian, Korean, Japanese, German, French, Singhalese, Mandarin Chinese, and even Latin for them at a moment's notice, and all in one person. Even with this loss, they can still count on me for laughs. In a job that's almost thankless. I am their fabulous go-to-girl for a smile.

Yes, I miss my old life and working. But, I realized with this part of my old life...I'm just not ready yet. I wish I were but my body is telling me otherwise. I remember my new year's resolution of sorts...I'm focusing this year on recovering what I lost. At least I had a glimpse of my old life. I know how impossible that is for most stroke survivors. All I can do is what's possible right now and keep pushing up against the boundaries of my life. But I'm not yet giving up on my old life.

You might have noticed that my progress on my book, Don't Get Your Panties in a Wad, has plateaued of sorts. That because since my dream, I've been trying to edit out the passive sentences, eliminate useless words, and edit including filling in those wicked little (xxx) as well as making some more while I write text. It's a challenge on good days. I won't go into the bad days. Everything is back and forth with stroke recovery. In fact I can't count on doing today what I was able to do yesterday or maybe be able to do more. There are no definites with recovery from a stroke.

Each day I'm reminded of how far I've come in my recovery. Just the fact that I can remember and type is a blessing.  Remind yourself everyday. As I used to tell my drug and alcohol counseling clients...everyday at least once a day and on bad days several times. Good advice if I do say so myself. I just have to keep reminding myself to practice what I preached.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.


  1. One day at a time.

    It's so sweet you were able to be a part of your friends wedding. You'll get back to where you were at some point. Just hang in there!

    1. Yeah Sara, I know. This is just God' way of teaching me patience. I'm just so impatient!

  2. Bless you, Jo. {{{hugs}}} I'm positive that you will recover all you need and more, in God's time. ; )

    1. That's the clincher isn't it...God's time.

  3. Sounds like a lovely ceremony, and a memory I'm sure they'll cherish for the rest of their lives together! :)


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