Wife. Mama. Amateur Cook. Pretend Sewer. Novice To All Things Domestic.

Stroke – Part 3.

Posted on: Wednesday, January 15, 2014

 I have struggled with writing the next part of this story. There are so many people involved- so many private and intimate moments. I only want to share my experience but it so difficult to do while protecting others along the way.  

You can read part 1 of this story here.

You can read part 2 of this story here.


My relationship with my mom has always been turbulent at best. The day that she was wheeled back into surgery I remember going to sit in the waiting room.

I was alone. My sisters had gone to get some fresh air and pick up food.

I remember sitting down in a vacant part of the room and looking at my phone. I opened my voicemail tab and there were a few messages from my mom.

I am notorious for not listening to voicemails so the notification button is always on.

In the past when I talked to my mom I had to mentally prepare myself for our conversations. I would say more often than not I did not take her calls.

She had tried to call for the past few weeks. The last time that we had talked we had gotten into an argument. The conversation hadn’t ended well and I hadn’t taken her calls since.

I remember pressing play to one of the messages from her.

I remember hearing her voice.. and it was normal, it was sweet, she was sober.

She said “hey Shayna, this is mom. I just want to say Im sorry for everything. I want to say Im sorry for our last conversation. I know that I haven’t always been a good mom. I swear that Ill try harder and I swear that Ill do a better job. I want to be there for Corbin. I want a relationship with Corbin. Please give me the chance to rectify the past..”

The feelings swirling throughout my body were indescribable as I listened to that voicemail. I remember my whole body tightening and I remember this aching pain in my chest. I remember feeling so guilty for not having taken her call and also so grateful that I had that recording on my phone. I remember all at once these emotions pouring out of me. I was hysterically crying – uncontrollably sobbing – sitting there  listening to each message in mourning.

Mourning what potentially was the death of my mother’s life and realistically was the death of my mother as I knew her. Even if she made it out of this, it was known that she was going to have irreparable brain damage.

Its hard. It’s a hard thing for anyone to go through. When you are walking through a situation like this on bad terms with someone, or I can imagine even on the best of terms, it is a new and foreign type of pain.

That was definitely a moment of mourning and grieving for me that I had not expected to come.

Unfortunately, that was also only the beginning of the events that unfolded while she was in this life sustaining surgery.

A little while after splashing cold water on my hot, tear streaked face and gathering myself off of the bathroom floor, my little sisters came back with food for Mike.

Mike is the man I called “dad” my entire life. And like most children feel about heir dads, I idolized him.

I assume it’s hard for any child to grow up and realize that their parents have flaws. That they are not always the super heroes we had ingrained in our minds. When that realization comes coupled with addiction, deceit, and countless incarcerations, the anger and feelings of rejection are strong. Mike stopped being my dad by the time I hit high school. I was on my own at 15 and rarely saw him for the next ten years.

When you are thrown into the arms of addiction, you live in this delusion that the world – relationships and feelings of entitlement-   are sustained to how you remember it being during the best times.

Mike is notorious for showing up and playing dad while the pain of years of absence lingers in the air.

He hadn’t eaten or slept in a few days at this point. The girls were trying to get him to take a few bites of a sandwich while we waited for any updates. While he was eating, he kept falling asleep. At one point he had leaned back while asleep and smashed his head on the back of the wall. The trauma to the back of his head triggered a seizure in him. He is known to have seizures- he is known to have seizures when he is sleep deprived, he’s known to have seizures when he is messed up on narcotics, and he’s known to have seizures when he is in withdrawal.

I can remember seeing the expressions of shock on the strangers faces around the room.

I walked to the nurses station and calmly said “theres a man having a seizure in the waiting room”.

It was almost an outer body experience at this point. I felt so numb. It was so typical of one of my parents to throw a firework into a situation that you could not possibly imagine getting any worse.

He refused any help from the hospital staff. He didn’t want to miss anything with my mom.

I remember the anger beginning to build- feeling so frustrated that he couldn’t pull it together long enough for my mom to get out of surgery.

A few more hours passed before we heard anything.

The surgeon came out and said that she had made it through surgery. He said at this point they had done everything they could from a medical standpoint and it was up to her body to fight.

He said things would be touch and go. He said there were no absolutes.

We thought the worst was over. Little did I know that this was only the beginning of what would be the hardest days, weeks and months of my role as a daughter.





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