Music Helps Me Escape From The Reality I Live In A Stroke Struck and Changed My Family Forever

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A Stroke Struck and Changed My Family Forever

Time waits for no one. Can ten years fly like lightning? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was disappointed by what happened on August 16, 2007? Wasn’t the pain sharper than the sharpest razor ever made? Wasn’t it hard to believe that time would heal the wounds and eventually heal me? Wow! Looking back on this month, I can’t help but be thankful for where God has brought me and my loved ones. Where would we be if He hadn’t been on our side all these years? Time has really lessened the indescribable pain. May the name of the Lord be praised forever and ever.

In 2003, a sudden phone call from my younger brother Osa woke me up from a deep sleep. He has bad news! A close friend of hers in Nigeria had just called and her mother had suffered a stroke – she was paralyzed on the right side of her body. All his children lived overseas, so a very cold chill went up my spine. We were thousands of miles away. How was he going through this nightmare without any of us by his side? The tears flowed until I broke the news to my sister, Ui, who lives in the same city as me.

Trying to imagine my mother being paraplegic was quite a shock. After all, I saw it a few months ago. He was very bubbling with life while vacationing with us in the US. I drove her to the airport and waved her out of sight. Little did he know that this was the last time he would see his mother walking without two legs. Such is life!

Before her stroke, my mother lived in a world of happiness that she had created for herself. We called it “her paradise”. He loved the comfort and it paid off in no time. He always has an employee for everything be it a house help, cook, driver, gardener, security guard or Gateman as we call him. Mom didn’t have to lift a finger because everything was done for her.

His love for God was immeasurable. I remember him gathering the neighborhood kids, whetting their appetites for fast food with cookies, and when the real food (God’s Word) arrived, he couldn’t help but attend. He also dedicated a room in our house for prayer. When we were young, our brothers were afraid to be called to that room. We spent at least one full hour starving for prayer, struggling to get rid of the small amount of concentration we struggled to maintain.

Entertaining people was something my mother was passionate about. We had a visitor in the middle of the night, but he had a unique way of cooking with and without ingredients at home. His passion for music went hand in hand with entertaining people. In the early seventies, my mother would run speakers from her bedroom into the kitchen. How could I forget that most mornings the whole house woke up to classical music or hymns? My mother’s love of art was always present in our home, as music always had a place there. From sculptures to paintings, they were bought as if they were going out of fashion. The variety of flowers in his garden was priceless to him. He talked to his plants every day and even mourned the death of the ugliest flower in the garden.

One of us went to Nigeria to be with my dear mother. Although the timing was bad for us, as we all coincidentally faced a rabid dog-like storm in our lives, my brother Osa, his only son and last child, got on the next available flight.

Reality set in when Osa arrived in Lagos, Nigeria. My mother was worse than we imagined. The original plan to take care of him until he was strong enough to travel to the US in a month or two went out the window. Osa had to bring him with him. They landed in London by plane three weeks later.

Ui and I prepared in the morning to receive my mother. It was hard for me to imagine what lay ahead. One, I can’t stand seeing people in pain and suffering. How could I go on a full stomach after seeing my mother sick and helpless? I had to sweep my fears under the rug of fate and wait until I laid eyes on him. On the other hand, my sister was less prepared. She loves caring for people and once toyed with the idea of ​​studying nursing. She was mentally and physically ready for the challenge of caring for her mother.

I will never forget the moment I met my mother and Osa in the arrivals area of ​​the airport. We were shocked to see our beloved mother! She was a far cry from the woman I had seen off at the airport on my last visit. Who would have thought that his next visit to the US would involve a wheelchair? I was speechless, frozen in fear and denial. His size and vitality were greatly reduced – he was half-formed and helpless. His laughter, which he had always proclaimed to be, was nowhere to be found. He could hardly speak. I was in shock all day. I just couldn’t look at his face. How can I?

That night I went to bed with him. He lay on his back and stared at the ceiling, as if searching for answers to the many questions in his mind. She seemed happy to be around her children and grandchildren, but I knew that my mother was struggling with the unfortunate trap that her body was trapped in. I lay next to him in silence. Sleep eluded me because I was in so much pain. I looked at him in the dark and noticed tears running down his pillow. I was also crying silently, so I gathered my strength and said in a voice that sounded like I had just woken up, “Mom, are you okay?” He whispered to me, “Good dear.”

The first few weeks were rough. We put on the mantle of patience, loyalty and tolerance as we did everything under the sun for our mother. He was like a newborn baby in our helpless arms. I took care of the baby at night while her sister took care of her during the day. Even though we felt burned because we didn’t know better, the guilt of seeing him like this was overwhelming us. His visit to a particular doctor opened another page.

He underwent several tests and was sent for physical therapy. The first day of her treatment was the beginning of my mother’s slow death from addiction. A beautiful yet confident American doctor made my mother do things we never imagined she could do even with partial paralysis. The therapist promised us he wouldn’t help her if needed. I was open to the idea, but I wondered if my mother would be able to handle it – she’s used to being petted. Mom did not find this decision funny. How could he? We assured him that it would be gradual for his own good. This was the beginning of the gradual exodus of my mother from being completely dependent on us or anyone else to do things for her.

We began to ignore his constant requests to be put on the next flight back to our comfort zone in Lagos, Nigeria. With a stroke, he had to do it himself or resign himself to the fate of permanent paralysis, so we weren’t going to help him escape to “heaven.” My mother was a regular in therapy, so she saw some patients come in without arms or legs, but she was determined to do things without help. He began to see the responsibility of relying on others for the little things he could do for himself. This inspired him, and with time, faith, and encouragement, he began to do things for himself until he had good use of his left arm and leg. She has learned to groom herself without assistance, get into bed by herself, stand up, move around with little or no assistance, feed with her left hand, and go on family outings with minimal assistance.

He improved dramatically and realized that the idea of ​​”heaven” was actually hell, because the ability to do things yourself is a priceless asset. Although a stroke is one of the worst things a person can experience, for my mom it has helped us learn invaluable lessons. First, it exposed the ugly side of dependence, taught patience and tolerance, increased faith in God for the impossible, created unity in our family and prevented us from being taken advantage of in any situation. We learned to live each day with intention.

We had the privilege of being with my mother for another four years. We all took care of him at home for 6 months to a year. On August 16, 2007 at 21:30 in the evening, my beloved mother became famous. It left a huge void in our lives, but 10 years later, I look back and thank God for seeing us through this very stormy but precious part of our lives.

Dear Mom, It seems like yesterday, but your sweet memories will live on in our hearts forever. I miss you so much, so much! Memories of fond, good times, your unique laugh, your humor, your mozzarella and almond craze, everything you stood for. I am eternally grateful to God for the privilege of having a mother like you. I love you and will always love you. Thank you for bringing me into this world, for the wonderful life you have given us, for the values, and for everything you stand for. Not a day goes by without a memory of you. Until we meet again, may your beautiful soul rest in peace.

May the souls of all our loved ones rest in complete peace in Jesus name.

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