For most of my life I accepted the fact that I would never meet my mother – it just was the way things were. I did search the newspaper each birthday hoping against hope there would be a cryptic message only I could decipher, and when the internet came along I searched there as well – but at the same time, I still accepted that I would not meet her. In the end that acceptance of fact proved true because she had already passed by the time my records were unsealed. Acceptance to me in most things was simply a logical assumption based on probabilities and realities.
That type of acceptance of reality is how I have always lived my life both personal and professional – decisions based on careful consideration of all logical facts – not emotions. That is the me – my family, friends, and coworkers knew.
Which brings me to the change in me after I got sick – and specifically after my stroke. I never accepted that I could not get back what I had lost. It just wasn’t in my realm of possibilities - despite the fact that probabilities and realities predicted I wouldn’t regain all that I had lost. I did regain some that I shouldn’t have, and perhaps that attributed to the belief – who knows, but I set myself up for expectations that were not achievable. Those expectations ensured I fought and became very stubborn which has hurt me as well, simply because I did not apply the logical facts based on reality.
Last week I broke down and suggested to my husband that I hire a landscaping company to bring the backyard back to what it had been before I got sick. I think he breathed a sigh of relief because his agreement was immediate and without any qualifications or strings – just “I agree” – no questions on cost – just “do it”. On Friday the crew of four arrived and worked all day long trimming hedges and shrubs that were massively overgrown, pulling weeds, taking down small trees seeded by the birds and squirrels, mulching, and then hauling it all away. My backyard is beautiful once again. I can go out and wander around the yard and hopefully maintain the flower beds, but from now on I will pay for the heavy gardening on a regular basis because having a beautiful space to enjoy nature in, is good medicine for the soul.
I should have known logically and factually that I cannot do everything that I did before I got sick – the facts speak for themselves – but my brain is different now and refused to see it - I need to remember to compensate for its difference.
Which brings me to perhaps what made me finally realize I wasn’t thinking logically like I did before, although it took a couple of weeks to sink in but I watched the Ted Talk (see below) the last week of May (I created a post about it but left it as a draft). I recognised many of the same things she experienced and talks about here – although my stroke was ischemic and a specific section of my left brain now operates in my right brain. “Same but different.” At the start she says this about having your right brain be the dominant side controlling you and what that means: “This present moment – right here – right now” and that resonated with me. I said that to a friend at lunch just the other day – I am good in the present – alluding to my inability to keep things that are in the present now, in the future, or connecting the past to what is relevant now. I am different now - I live in both sides but unless I focus, I would say I am more on the right side. I do believe that is the reason I failed to realize for so long (years) that I was over my head in my own backyard.
Enjoy and take the time to listen to the talk because chances are that at some point in your life, someone close to you will go through this too – different but perhaps similar and it will be invaluable to be able to understand the difference not only in how they think, but even in the personality.
“Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.”