In March, after completing another weekend in the Wonder of the Soul series I received some shocking news. I woke on the Tuesday morning to messages from my brother explaining that my Father had had a massive stroke in the night. I cancelled my clients, booked the first available flight from Ireland (Thank God for Aer Lingus) and hurried over to Wales. It transpired that his speech had been severely affected by the stroke. The muscles in his face had dropped and he was unable to talk or swallow properly. His body and mind were ok. He was lucky – he was alive. It could have been a lot worse.
On some level I had a sense, even though I had no idea what, that something huge was on its’ way. On the last day of the Weekend Wonder of the Soul, I shared my feelings with the group in our final feedback. I felt slightly unsure about saying it, but needed to speak my truth. I expressed how wonderful the weekend had been, how well we’d dealt with the topics of personal power, drive, motivation and determination. Together the group had uncovered and discovered more about themselves, those topics and how everything was related. As the weekend concluded, I told the group I sensed something powerful was about to happen. I felt it was to do with my Father and how the dynamics of our relationship would change.
In the days that followed my Father’s stroke, it took all of my strength to stay grounded, present and in the moment. Waves of emotion would crash over me. I knew I had to process them. I tapped using EFT, breathed deeply and cried heaps. Sometimes I felt I was drowning. Other times I felt able to cope, my head was just ‘above the surface’. Occasionally there’d be ‘glimpses of sunshine’ too – synchronicities would occur and things people said often felt like messages from the Universe/the Divine.
What was interesting was that on Monday, the day before I received the news of my Father’s stroke, I’d been meditating at home. I saw an image of the beautiful Goddess of Compassion and Mercy, Qwan Yin. In my inner vision and minds’ eye she came to me, held and surrounded me with the most exquisite feeling of divine love and told me everything would be ok. So as I bobbed about like a cork on the ocean of emotion, her image and those feelings kept coming back to me, comforting me.
The first week was a blur. My Mother and I got into a routine. Waking late, we’d have breakfast and talk. We’d get the things ready that my Dad needed. We’d answer phone calls from family, relatives & friends and head over to the hospital for visiting time. We’d be with my Father, my siblings and try our best to communicate with him. Mum & I would return home, grab a bite to eat and head back for evening visiting time. We’d leave again, make our way home, sit for a while at night (watching TV and eating chocolates!) flopping into bed, exhausted. Next day, we’d get up and repeat.….and so it went on for a week. Slowly my Father regained some strength. The staff at the Hospital were amazing.
Goodbye and Goodnight
Daily my Father practiced his facial and speech exercises. He was absolutely demonstrating motivation, drive and determination (things we’d talked about in our Wonder of the Soul weekend). Yet in my mind, I kept going back to how he used to be. There were times, when I struggled to accept that this was how he was now. The hardest thing was the end of evening visiting hours. We’d have to leave my Father in hospital. Sometimes once we’d left the building, my Mother and I would hold each other, breakdown together and cry.
On the fourth evening, as was becoming the norm, he accompanied us to the main doors. My Father hugged & kissed me and then turned to my Mother. He looked her into the eyes, held her firmly by the shoulders and as distinctly and as clearly as he could, he said:
They hugged each other tightly. I burst into tears. Such a beautiful, heartfelt message of love.
He’d been practicing for days to say those 3 words to my Mum.
I felt so humbled to witness the deep love my parents had for one another.
Even after 60 years of marriage, there was such a strong connection between them.
The good news is since then, my Father has returned home, is recovering well, sleeping loads and back on solid food again. His speech hasn’t returned fully but he’s improving slowly and getting speech therapy weekly. He works every day on his exercises. He’s been cleared to drive and has even made a few short trips to local towns in the area. My parents rest, they watch a lot of afternoon TV and hold hands. We are all incredibly grateful…. Many thanks to everyone who helped us during this very difficult time. You are very much appreciated and loved.