Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Love, The Best Medicine

It had been nearly two years since my mother had her first stroke. I was getting so excited. I had learned from reading various publications on stroke recovery that the first two years after a person’s stroke were critical. Even though I prayed and asked God to help my mother survive the stroke and recover most of what she lost, I was quite surprised and pleased when she did. My mother, the teacher, who taught each one of her four daughters, plus hundreds of other elementary age children, was left cognitively impaired from her stroke. However, the nearly two years of prayer and therapy proved to make a difference. While my mother was not the same and I was convinced that she would never be the same, she was better. That was good enough for me.

Two months before the two-year anniversary of her first stroke, tragedy struck our family again. A vein in my mother’s brain ruptured and spilled blood in the organ that was already damaged from the first stroke. Although the neurologist said that this second stroke was not as severe as the first, the damaging effects were greater. The doctor explained that one stroke on top of another stroke was never good. My mother lied in the bed in a stupor for weeks. No matter how much we prayed, cried, or called out to my mother she would not respond.

Every day and every night that we would be there visiting her, my sisters and I would call out to my mother and ask her to wake up, squeeze our hand, open her eyes, or just do anything to let us know that she was aware of our presence. The minutes, hours, and days were rolling by, and still my mother was not responding. The doctor’s had given up hope that she would awaken from her deep sleep. But our faith in God and our faith in our mother, despite what was painfully obvious prompted us to continue to try to wake her up.

One night my sister Paula came to the hospital to visit my mother as she did every night. She would always come in her nursing scrubs that she would wear from her job at one of the city’s neighboring hospitals. Her two young children, Joseph, who was two-years-old, and Jasmine, who was only eight months, would always accompany her. But this night was different. Before Paula could park the stroller that Jasmine was taking a nap in and put down her things and walk over to my mother’s bedside to try to get a response out of my mother, my nephew, Joseph, ran to her bedside. His little head was lifted high so that he could try to catch a glimpse of his granny over the side of the bed. He grabbed her hand and said with sincerity and urgency, “Granny, squeeze my hand.” All of us were moved by his attempt to wake up his granny. In his two-year-old mind, he did not realize the severity of the situation. But his innocent faith pushed him to try to do what he had seen his mommy and his aunties do for the last few weeks.

Without disappointment or wavering faith, he commanded again, “Granny, squeeze my hand.” His brown eyes looked intense and full of unpolluted faith. Again, he implored my mother to squeeze his hand. I got up and went to my mother’s bed and rubbed the top of Joseph’s curly head. With tears forming in my eyes, I said to my mother, Granny, squeeze Joseph’s hand.” Like a miracle, my mother’s fingers moved slowly and slightly gripped Joseph small hand. We shouted with great delight.

Although my mother did not follow that response with another one for at least a few more days, we were all elated that she, our darling mother, and Joseph’s loving grandmother, responded to the sincere request from her oldest grandchild. I believe that her love for her grandchild was able to help her push beyond the physical restraints to let him know that she not only heard him, but she loved him. Over the next few weeks and months, it was the love that my mother had for her three grandchildren that motivated her to trudge up the steep hill to her recovery.


mark said...

Angela such a touching post. Im very glad that your mother has made some improvement. My mother is sick as well and Im having to be strong and their for her. I will pray for you and your family.

Also I want to say thank you for your healing words over their at free slaves. I also appreciate your insightful comments over their at the afrospear page.

Angie said...

Mark, you're quite welcome.

I'll pray for your Mom too.