The other day, I had lunch with a lady in my networking group. She asked me all about that fateful day, 7 July, 2003, when life changed forever for me and wanted to know exactly what had happened.
At a certain point, I explained to her how the stroke had actually become both a blessing and a curse. If I had the chance to live my 19th year over again, with or without the stroke, I find myself always saying, “I would love to not have ever had the experience — but, only if I could retain the lessons I learned from it.”
The caveat is this interesting thing about human nature. I’m not sure if such a thing is possible, to live as though it never happened, yet fully keep the wisdom gleaned from that experience with us. I told her that after each strokiversary, I find myself farther from the pain of being in the hospital or of being almost completely dependent on others for basic needs.
Today I forget, as I buckle myself into my trendy brown-and-gold sandals, what it was like having to secure my leg into a custom-made AFO every day, which meant I had to wear gym shoes every single damn day of my life. (As cute as sneakers can be, they are still ultimately more utilitarian than they are fashionable/stylistically congruent with my everyday look.)
Or more seriously, each day I spend without the alarming experience of suddenly having to surrender all power and personal agency to a full-body (or even partial) seizure, I forget. I take for granted a seizure-less day, since this is now what’s “normal” for me.
What the lady said in response was lovely. She replied, “I think that’s by design. If every mother in the world remembered every day the pain of childbirth she could never focus on the all-encompassing love she has for her children.”
Bam. There it was.
There is a grand design to our tendency to let go. We all shed the layers of who we once were in order to become who we will be — let go of the stories of the past in order to transform. Because as long as we carry that baggage with us, we can’t move forward as lightly, as gracefully as we could without it.
Would you be able to focus on the all-encompassing love for who you are today if you kept remembering the stories of your past pain?
To our healing,