I would like to take a moment to wish all the Veterans, past and present, a belated Happy Veteran’s Day. I know I’m a day late but I spent yesterday with my Veteran who was enjoying his day off. I am forever grateful to my husband for his service and dedication to this country. My father and uncle were both B-52 pilots in the Air Force. I’m also very proud of both of them.
I know this a blog primarily about quilting but I wanted to take a moment and tell you all about a wonderful woman, my mother. Six months ago her life was forever changed. On May 19th, her husband suffered a massive stroke. Gene, my step father, was severely impacted by the stroke. He was unable to speak or move his right side. I drove to Missouri on May 20th so I could be there with Gene and my mother. It was the worst day…it rained for 11 of the 12 hours while I was driving. I cried most of the way. I remember seeing him for the first time and it broke my heart. I could see the despair in his eyes when he would wake up. Those moments didn’t last long. He slept for 7 days after the stroke. I stayed with my mother for almost a month following the stroke. Gene was facing the battle of his life.
He managed to fight everyday to get better. He eventually went to the rehab facility at the hospital. After almost 3 months in the hospital and rehab it was time for Gene to go home. His right side was still immobile and his speech was very limited. Mom’s battle was about to begin. She was faced with being his 24/7 caregiver. I know she must have been terrified at the thought but she loves him. She will do whatever it takes to get him better.
My mom dislikes cooking. She now cooks every meal every day. My mom doesn’t enjoy cleaning. She now does all the laundry and cleaning on her own. Gene can no longer help with any of these daily tasks. He is unable. She is able. And she does. She takes care of him day after day night after night. She does this because she loves him with all heart. She has remained positive and strong for him. She makes him smile. She makes sure he knows how important therapy is. She reminds him everyday how much stronger he is getting. She is his rock.
It still breaks my heart to think about what used to be. Gene is such a special person. He’s a talented photographer. He’s a wonderful mechanic. He’s funny and loving. Caring and giving. A wonderful husband and a terrific grandfather. His life has been forever changed. He’s fighting everyday to get his life back. He relies on my mom to help him and she does. I cannot imagine what life must be like for both of them. I live too far away to help. I wish I was closer. But I’m not. My mother’s strength and courage are inspiring to me. I am so proud of her. She would do anything for Gene. My mom isn’t famous. She isn’t a movie star. She isn’t the CEO of a fortune 500 company. She is strong. She is courageous. She is my hero.