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When a Loved One has a Stroke, Everyone Hurts

by Brenda Mahler 3 months ago in healing

Stories of stroke survivors and caregivers learning to live again

This picture is of family at Thanksgiving. Photo form author's photo album.

Scanning through Facebook last week, I stopped abruptly on a post. A friend had suffered a stroke. My heart broke, and I was transported back to a time four years earlier when life revolved around hospitals and recovery. During that year, both my dad and daughter suffered severe strokes that changed their lives. On Thanksgiving, we had a lot to be thankful for as we gather together.

Though it is never easy to accept, when an elderly person has a stroke it is understood, at least in my case, because I had witnessed many elderly family and friends deal with this affliction. However, when a vibrant, healthy, young person had a stroke, I was bulldozed by emotions. 

During the time Kari, my daughter, was in the hospital I recorded her experiences through stories. At the time, I wrote for my own comfort, to record the experiences, and to pass the hours as I sat by her bedside. When she came home, I shared many of these stories with others. Some have been shared with Facebook communities. 

When the post informed me that a friend in her 30's had a stroke, a flood of memories forced me to relive experiences from my not so distant past. It seems so unfair! Reading about my friend's stroke, I felt helpless for I know from experience, the healing process takes time.

With a desire to make a positive impact on others, I thought I would share our stories in the hope that someone would find inspiration and realize they are not alone. 

These are all personal stories meant to provide support. There is no attempt to spam or earn money. My only purpose is to share - hoping our experiences will provide others' support. May each person afflicted with this terrible, life changing condition accept the support of others. Keep your heart open to love.

It started with a phone

Photo by Stephen Wheeler on Unsplash

When we got the phone call from my son-in-law, we had not idea what was happening. We only knew Kari was in the hospital. Quickly, we learned the value of asking for help.

Asking for Help is Difficult but It is Harder to Survive Alone

Learning to live again

Image from author's photo album

Day by day Kari grew stronger. As she grew stronger she moved from ICU to a standard hospital room and eventually to a rehabilitation center. She had to learn all life's basic functions: swallow, talk, walk, etc.

Success in Life Requires Learning to Take One Step at a Time

A poem for someone I never met

Photo by A Perry on Unsplash

I read a Facebook post from a stranger named Lily. Her strife following a stroke spoke to my heart, as my own daughter, Kari, had a stroke at 33. I wrote this poem for her.

Some Day Lily

Ask questions and expect answers 

Image taken from author's photo album

Never hesitate to a ask questions and expect answers. Part of the recovery process when ill and in the hospital is to understand and know what to expect.

Ask Questions When Making Life Decisions

Remember to laugh

Image from author's photo album.

To everything there is a season. At time to cry and a time to laugh. Never forget to laugh. Laughter has healing power.

A Survival Strategy for Trauma: Laugh

Strategies to support loved ones in the hospital

As an educator, I have always understood the need to address a student's most basic needs before they are able to meet their potential. Once those needs are satisfied, people can grow and learn. During Kari's time in the hospital, I learned the same philosophies apply to health.

Uniting Science and Emotions to Promote Healing

A family poem of togetherness 

Image from author's photo album.

A stroke left Kari unable to use her right hand. She has since taught herself to use her left hand to produce chalk art. This is one of her earliest pieces as she attempts to create clouds. I wrote the poem that follows to support her art.

Cloud Gazing

Giving to others build strength through community

It was Halloween and since trick-or-treating was not an option at the hospital. Kari shared candy with people she met. During the process, we got more than we gave.

After a Stroke, My Daughter Found Wholeness by Giving to Others

Keep a can-do attitude

Image from author's photo album.

“You get what you get so don’t throw a fit.” This is a standard Cliché in a kindergarten classroom and home of a mother with small children — at least my daughter’s. After her stroke, she lived by the true meaning of these words.

Make it Happen With a Can-Do Attitude

Never give up

Image from author's photo album.

This story records a moment in time. Kari's journey continues to this day. She is now driving, and with a left-handed throttle loves to drive the four-wheeler at the cabin. Last week she asked her father if he thought she could pull the camp trailer. He said, "With a little practice, you can do anything."

When It Feels Like You May Drown, Just Keep Swimming

Feel the emotions

Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

Nobody told me (whether they forgot or intentionally left the information out of the communique) that worries, problems and pains don't float away in a balloon. It didn't work for Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ, and it doesn't work for me in Boise, Idaho.

Letting It Go Only Defers the Feelings

A reflection of Dad's stroke

Great-Grandpa Nick with Granddaughters. Image from author's photo album.

Not all strokes are the same. This short piece shares my reflections when in the emergency room immediately after Dad had a stroke. It is followed by a poem I wrote about his time in the hospital.

Daddy Had a Stroke.


Image from author's photo album.

When Kari entered the hospital, they had three dogs. When she came home there were only two. This is the story - with a happy ending.

Learn to Accept Yourself by Making Space for Others


Brenda Mahler

Stories about life that inspire emotions - mostly humor.

Lessons about writing based on my textbook, Strategies for Teaching Writing.

Poetry and essays about the of art of being human.

I write therefore, I am.

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Brenda Mahler
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