Joy Disguised as Sadness

It’s been a year since that fateful day. The day my life “flipped turned upside down.” (That’s the best way I can describe it.) I feel like I’ve been living in some alternate universe for a whole year. Every morning I wake up, look around, and my heart sinks because it wasn’t just a dream! (Dangit!) What I’m experiencing is for real! The picture above has never been seen before. It was taken by my sister right after the stroke. (She understands how chronicling life is so important to me.) I only remember bits and pieces. I hear it was touch and go for awhile there.

Wrapping my head around this event has been difficult. Since my brain operates fine, I have mulled, analyzed, and stewed for just about a year. (I’ve had the time, for a long time.) I suspect it’s a lot like mourning a lost life. I used to cry at the drop of a hat. Time has healed some of that, but certain things still set me off.

Most people who know me say, “You’ve come so far from no movement at all and on life support, we wondered if you’d even still be with us.” I agree, but I still mourn the past life I lived. Then they add, “But Kim, you need to celebrate your gift of life.” I understand. I am extremely grateful for that ultimate blessing and tender mercy. I’m still a little sad, though. My common sense tells me, “Yeah, I’ve figuratively traveled an extremely long way.” I do have joy and acknowledge that I fought for what I possess, but it is still lined with a thin layer of regret and “what-could-have-beens.”

Humility is engrained in me now. I was too confident in my comfortable (yet busy) life before the stroke. I hope and pray others can gain the lessons they need to learn on their own without experiencing life-altering changes! I will feel a little better if I know other lives benefited from my hardship. But at this time, I most assuredly recognize the source of my blessings, and I am truly grateful for the hugely abundant acts of kindness on my behalf. There are so many angels on this earth. (Seen and unseen!)

I wondered how to signify this milestone. Many of you shared your great opinions. The sad thing was, the clothes they cut off me in the ER were trashed, and I had no hospital paraphernalia to light on fire. (I got rid of it as fast as I could!) So my older daughter and the girls made a poster that said, “Big fat nasty nasty nasty stroke” with a corner that said, “burn here.” After I ate my fill of cheesecake with Dr. Pepper, we proceeded to the fire pit for some burning! “Burn baby burn!” I only cried a little.

So a year has come and gone with my new normal. I have come the equivalent of 10,000 miles. (I am approximating.) In the next few years, expect to see me walking through the door! (Cuz I’m gonna do it!) 

I can do hard things, and so can you!

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