Every experience in our lives leaves its mark. It molds our character and sculpts us into the perfect person that we are supposed to be, or at least that is how it should be. It took several years. Nevertheless, I have been able to turn my limitations to advantages.
My affliction has made me very sensitive and intense emotionally. As a self-defensive response to this, I also became very numb. Meaning that sometimes things can be happening around me, and I would sit there looking like nothing was going on. However, if something should happen that would touch me inside, I would immediately burst out in tears. A happy or sad situation makes my heart pour itself out in the form of a loud cry followed by weeps and tears.
It was summer of 1995, six months after the stroke. After several months of rehab in Helsinki, it was time to face the life that used to be normal. To meet all those so familiar places and people full of wonderful warm memories. It was a beautiful summer day, time to go back home. I felt numb as the taxi cruised along the highway. I had no idea, no sense of what my life was going to be. It was the first time in my life that I had no plans or dreams for the future. None, what so ever.
The rehab center may have helped a little with my physical situation. Still, it did not do anything for my soul and my spirit. I would have to heal my inner self myself. Little did I know that to heal one's soul and spirit one should rip out their heart, tear it all apart and then very patiently put it back together. It takes time, years. It would take help of family and friends. Not for their compassion or tender words, just their presence. The healing would come out of the look in their eyes. Some eyes full of pity, others full of sorrow that hurt, HURT a lot. I did not realize it back then that that was the beginning of the healing process.
Of the many blessings that I have are in the form of good friends. There were those who were there all of the time. It took some time to cope with the situation and get the strength to be around me again. Of course, there were some who vanished. I don't judge them, though; it is a difficult situation to handle, and not everybody can deal with it.
I began to appreciate people in a different way after the misfortune. Especially family and friends, without them I wouldn't have been anything. I would not have made it. Friends played a significant role in the story of my life. They shared their lives with me and by doing this, they made me feel alive. Their presence was a great aid. Even in those moments when they just sat there in quiet. Those comfortable moments of silence were immeasurable.
However, lucky and blessed I was by having this lovely family and great friends, there was still a part of me that was very lonely. No matter how happy I was for them when they were making their lives; having boyfriends and spouses, starting their families and having babies. I would see this and think to myself; "I am paralyzed, stuck to a chair, in need of an assistant for every single thing. I will never have this; I will always be alone and never will I have somebody with me to make it all more bearable". Nobody knew it, but there was an enormous black hole of loneliness deep inside of me hidden behind a stubborn smile.
Everything happens for a reason; every action produces a reaction. The rebel in me devoured the feelings of loneliness, and I grew strong, build up faith and hope, to always be positive and never giving in. As this all was happening, I started to live again, not just surviving but to LIVE. Life went on, and I found my ways to enjoy. Then out of the blue, "SURPRISE, SURPRISE!"
The most ordinary things can be extraordinary when done with right people. Like being always home after the stroke was still ok and did not feel all that horrible because I had good people around me. I was blessed to have these dear ones that held my roots tight through the storm and kept me standing straight when I could not do this for myself. "Love you, and bless you all..."