My firstborn was recently married in the Sacramento, CA temple. (Yes, I am that old…) I have never seen someone so happy! As he danced with his new wife, my dear friend, Kathy, leaned over & asked me, “Aren’t u glad u are here?” I was grateful for her question, as my eyes filled with tears & my mind was flooded with a memory:
Shortly after my stroke (& while I was severely depressed & wanting to die), I remember Mark taking me out to watch our kids ride their bikes—as the 2 oldest kids had just been taught by Grandpa Lynn how to ride their bikes with no training wheels. As we watched them, Mark leaning forward & saying, “Aren’t u glad u are still alive to see this, & can be there for all of their milestones, like their wedding?”
So, a shout-out to my son, Zach, & his new wife, Maddie! I am happy I got to witness (2 meanings!) the event! Love u both!
At their wedding, a highlight for me was getting to stand & “dance” with my husband! At the end of the dance, we were able to share some advice with the new couple, but I’d like to do mine now…so, here’s a bit of advice for the newlyweds:
If u get upset with each other, serve willingly! I have always joked about how the stroke has saved my marriage, but I really think it has! Serving someone who has ticked u off is such a good way to be filled with Christ’s love, & soften your heart: I have seen my girls be sooo mad at me, & then as they are in the process of helping me, I witness their heart softening towards me, & by the time they finish, they apologize! & 9 times out of 10, I am the one who ticks Mark off (good thing I had the stroke, cuz there’s lots of service he can do for me-HaHa), & while it takes a lot of humility on my part to ask for help, he has never denied helping me… he may be reluctant at times, but he surprises me by always being willing!
& his willingness is the key because the marriage rates for brainstem stroke survivors are not good, despite the fact that they are serving their partner who had a stroke. Being willing shows love, not “servitude.”
Also a shout out to Kathy, who I had never met, but she bravely came to my son’s wedding! After my stroke, my family searched the web for any info they could find on brainstem strokes. There was little info to be found, but they found Kathy, who had had a brainstem stroke, & provided me with hope that I had a possibility to do better in this life, as she was walking, talking, & driving a car!
One last shout-out to my daughter, Jessie (aka “Hermana Lynn”) who was at the wedding in spirit, as she was physically in Iowa representing The Church Of Jesus Christ, & serving the Lord. Hats off to her for putting God 1st in her life!
Back around 2006 or 2007 (before I could talk), I started using a phone. We had caller ID, so I only answered when my husband or kids called, cuz they knew “the system”: 1 beep on any button meant “hi, this is mom.” Then the “fun” began (I’m being sarcastic, if u can’t tell)—whoever called played 20 questions with me (usually, the 1st question was to see if someone was there who could read my ASL, & I would answer them with 1 beep for yes, 2 beeps for no).
Then, I got a cell phone in 2016. This seemed silly, since I couldn’t use a phone yet, really…the phone was more to hold on to my son’s phone #, during his mission (which I “stole” because I’d been texting from it those 2 years, so my son was nice & let me keep my texting #.)
Last year (2018) my son called me & asked me to return his call…& when I went to return his call, I had like a 15 minute panic attack before calling him back—“what if he didn’t understand me & I was all alone, & there was no one to translate me?” It had been 15 years since I held a conversation on a phone….I was kinda’ out of practice…”what do I say/ask to keep a conversation going?” “Was this a good time for him?”
I told my music therapist about this experience, & she encouraged me to start having more phone conversations with more open-ended questions, & to also have people call me. I started small with just immediate family & 1 friend, until I got the nerve to post about it (but to those kind friends who responded & said to call, I STILL haven’t had the nerve to call them!) However, my sister & I set up a weekly time to talk. I still can be hesitant to call her if I don’t think my speech is good that day, but now it’s not my “usual” anxiety as much as it is just knowing how much energy I need to have to speak,& if talking is hard that day, it takes lots of energy to speak!
Monday, my missionary (daughter) called me—& for the 1st time ever, I wasn’t even phased when I heard my phone ring, I just answered it, not even caring that I was alone! She seemed to understand me just fine, & I enjoyed our talk! I felt like Supergirl when we were done because I had conquered a demon! I am sure it has helped to talk to my sister (thanks Missy!), because I’m ok if my family calls now…someday I’ll get to where I feel comfortable answering any call(instead of getting nervous & hanging up on telemarketers! Ha! Ha!)
It has been forever since I have written… I seem to go from one thing to another, without ever coming up for air. But this year, I had 2 Halloween costumes that were created by 2 very creative people: 1st I went to a Halloween party with my helper & friend, Angie, who did Dr. Finkelstein in one style, using make-up—Angie went as Sally, Dr. Finklestein’s helper from “Nightmare Before Christmas.”
Then, we had a trunk or treat at our church this weekend, but I wanted a more family-friendly costume for it, though…At 1st, I wanted to be a transformer. Then the Dr. Suess fish in a bowl.. But one day Mark joked about how when I talked, I sounded like E.T. & he had me say, “E.T. Phone home”. I DID sound like E.T., & the costume was born…so, Mark did ET in another style, using his own set of talents. He was Elliot, I was ET, & my niece was the moon. I love how I can give Mark or Angie a creative project, & say, “Here’s what I want to do…now make it look awesome!” & they do!
BTW, I still LOVE my standing chair! Our world & our bodies are made for standing, & it comes in handy for the smallest things (like I stood up in order to pull down the medical coat for my Dr. Finkelstein costume)! I had a tilt table (a type of standing frame), & had looked at other standing frames before the standing chair, but the fact that I needed help getting into them turned me off – & now I’d add that the lack of mobility while standing would kill me, cuz I love being able to move while standing: getting into cabinets,& going down the hall (which freaks my kids out to see me “walking” down the hall!)
Several years ago we looked into a standing wheelchair, but we were in our old house, & it wouldn’t fit in my elevator. I was super bummed, but it was a blessing in disguise: I was not strong enough then. I was too weak to even stand up w/o assistance, & after sitting in this chair for extended periods of time, I can see how much less support it offers…it would have exhausted me! , This chair requires much more torso strength, which I never developed until I started taking horse (equine) therapy (which I started later–I was like a rag doll until then!)
It has been a while. If u saw my posts on Facebook or Instagram, u know some of what is going on:
–my son, Zach, came home from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ, serving the people in San Diego, CA in ASL (sign language).
–My daughter, Jessie also graduated from high school
–we had a party for my son & daughter to welcome Zach home, & congratulate Jess
–we went on an Alaskan cruise
–both my son & daughter went to BYU a few weeks ago, & on the way, they were rear-ended (they are ok, & were protected)
–my 18 yr. old daughter became the Relief Society president over the other college-age girls in her BYU ward (congregation)
–I got a new wheelchair that can use to either sit or to stand. (I am like a transformer, & if I have my knee brace & chest strap on, I can “transform” from a sitting car, into a robot…& when I do turn into a “robot”, I turn into a robot that is much taller than my “human form”! (My “human form is 5 feet, 3,5 inches, while my “robot form” is like 6 feet tall—it’s pretty awesome!). 🙂
The week after I got my new chair was crazy trying to NOT sit! (After 14 years of sitting, standing is a bit more appealing!) However, in the last 14 years, I have created a world for myself where I sit, so I was very limited to what I could do standing...BUT if I’ve learned anything in 14 years, chances are high that I will need to make a sacrifice in order to gain something greater. So, despite limited things to do, I spent more time doing other things: when I stand, I lose my belly (that I support my iPad on), & I lose my lap (which means I can’t use my iPad pillow, or carry/transport stuff, but talking I can do sitting or standing, so I did a lot of standing & having conversations.Oddly, it has actually become a challenge to sit & talk: Maybe a coincidence, but I think my diaphragm is less squished, so I get more air when I stand…However, I don’t think our dog, Cooper, likes my chair too much, also, since his lap is gone, & he’s always staring at me like he’s saying, “When’s it my turn?” I now have a tray (I am standing as I type this!), but our dog HATES how he can rarely sit on me now!