struck by a stroke

It’s been a funny week. Last year, every day was dominated by my mum’s stroke – either in the practical arrangements of travelling constantly to Belfast with a newborn and two children, or the emotional – the sheer pain and weight of missing her. But this year has brought an acceptance, an ability to take the weight off my shoulders occassionally and live my life, even enjoy it. Her stroke has melded into our lives instead of dominating it – and living with it has become a way of life.
But there are moments when it flares again, a reminder of what is, and what was.
Yesterday my brother was over seeing my mum. He decided to wheel her round to one of her friends for a change of scenery. On the phone to him earlier, I had begged him to put something decent on her, brush her hair and put on a bit of lippy. My brother and dad are great with my mum, but let’s face it, they’re men. She has a tendency to look like the Wild Woman of the West in their care. An hour later he called back. He needed guidance. He had made sure she had some good clothes on and now he stood opposite her, staring into the mystical abyss that was a woman’s make-up bag and he needed me to tell him what to do. So I found myself standing in my kitchen, phone in hand, directing my 46 year old brother on powder blush and lipstick.
“Is it meant to leave a brown ring around her face?” he enquired dubiously.
I’m not sure how she looked in the end, but he tried. And I love him even more for it.
And today, one of my articles appeared in the Irish Times. I had written it a couple of months ago, and I HAD written it. But still. It was a shock. To see our story in print. To see my account of my mum’s stroke in a national newspaper. I link it here.
The impact of a stroke can strike at any time.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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3 Responses to struck by a stroke

  1. You are so inspirational and just totally amazing. A beautiful writer, who deserves every bit of credit that is given to you. So wonderful that your story has gone to print, well done on that note.
    As for the pain and lingering effects you and the family are still suffering, I'm sending hugs. Your conversation with your brother sounds like such a typical sibling moment. I can only imagine how difficult it is on all of you. But your Mum is so lucky to have you all in her life.
    I can sense the lift in your spirits in your posts this year, it is great to see xoxo


  2. Oh well done in getting your story to print, I'm sure you're pleased! I think the best writing comes from deep, personal experience, events that have shaped us deep down, and you've had your fair share of life evolving experienes over the past year.


  3. Congratulations on your article. How fabulous. Your post got me thinking. I remember those early days after your mum's stroke when you'd only just had Ruby. It seems such a one time ago now. I hope your mum has adjusted to her new situation too. Had isn't it to think how the rest of us can get on with our lives with relative ease, but for your mum it's a different story. As Mama of 2 boys says, she's lucky to have you in her life. I'm showing knowing you are there is helping her hugely even if you can't be at her side constantly. x


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