Norah's Story

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


One year ago today, I suffered a stroke.  I was a 34 (almost 35) year old, four day post partum, healthy woman.  I will venture to say that this year was the fastest of my life.  I barely remember January-April of last year, but I know my family was loved and cared for so well.

Cecilia will never know that I wasn't her #1 caregiver during her first year.  She won't remember that I didn't get to snuggle her and take in every moment of her itty bittiness.  I'm thankful for that because I have experienced a lot of guilt for not being the same mom to her as I was to Maggie and Elliott.  We are making up for it now, but the things I had to just give up on still haunt me a bit.  I hate that her birthday, one we had waited so long for after we lost Norah, will always have stroke attached to it.  We certainly celebrated her 1st birthday (will post about that soon)!

After Cecilia's birthday party, a friend of mine handed me a letter.  It was dated January 21, 2015.  She has been such a blessing to our family over the last year.  Her work schedule allowed her to watch our kids during  many of my appointments and scans.  She wrote this note to me and kept it in her Bible to give to me.  The line that stands out to me is this...."When I was in the waiting room last night, I kept thinking about all the other people there.  What do people do in the ICU waiting room if they don't know God?  I'm so thankful to be surrounded by so many incredible people that know God."

I think about my story and how God has strengthened me during the really hard times.  In the midst of it, you are just trudging along, but once you get to the other side, you can really see His hand.  Anything can happen to us at any point in time.  We are not immune to suffering.  We will all go through hard things on this earth.  We will all lose people who are close to us, watch others suffer from horrible diseases, watch friends and family go through divorce and marital stress, watch acquaintances recover from accidents or random medical findings.  But all these things are temporary--life on this earth isn't going to last forever.  Our souls won't always be bogged down with the hard things life throws our way.

Last night before falling asleep, Greg said to me, "I'm hoping you don't wake me up telling me your head hurts like you did last year."  I try to replay those moments a year ago--not all of them can I remember.  But I can't shake the feeling of fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of not being able to care for my new baby, fear of not being able to be the mom I wanted to be, fear of dying and leaving my husband to care for three children.  

I've learned this year that doctors don't always have the answers.  Although they are super smart, they may not be able to tell you why this happened or if it will happen again.  You may never get a diagnosis that has a treatment.  The hardest lesson I've had to learn is to just go on living even though some really scary and bad things have happened to my body.  Each day we have is such a gift--don't ever forget that!

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