Saturday, March 17, 2012

One year ago ...

One year ago today my husband suffered a stroke
you can read about it here  

This post here, this is a hard one for me. I still feel very overwhelmed
by what happened. This post is not about the stroke nor Johnny...this post is about me. I am not being selfish or self absorbed....I'm just being honest. I would like for others not to make the mistakes
I made in going through this crisis.
I'm in tears as I type just know, I'm
pouring my feelings out here.

But I learned valuable lessons that I would like to share
And I hope someone can learn from what I went through last year

So after we arrived at the ER and the dr told us that Johnny
had had a stroke and a big one at that, my knees turned to rubber.
Johnny has always taken care of me and here he laid unable to move
what was I going to do. I asked the dr if Johnny was going to
be ok and he said this "Mrs Delaney, we do not know, we hope so but we
do not know"
to hear those words made me numb.
But I had to pull myself together

First off, I needed to call our kids, family and friends
I had to make all of these calls and I felt overwhelmed by it
my hands trembled as I called everyone, I fought back tears so as
to not worry anyone and I felt like I was going to throw up
with each call.
first lesson learned......I should have asked someone to be with me
and help me but I didn't, I did it all myself, which was a mistake.

Then I downplayed how serious it was....and that was my next lesson learned
because by downplaying it, I was left alone to deal with it
and I really needed someone to lean on

Next, our kids were in no way prepared for anything to happen
to either Johnny nor I. Our kids are adults, I should have been able to
lean on them and together we be each
others support but instead, I had to be their support.
I had to be Johnny's support and our kids support and it
was more than I could handle. I wasn't even honest with them. When
they would ask if he will be ok I didn't tell them we don't know. I just said
yes....or hope so or whatever.....anything other than the truth.  

Lesson learned .... I should have been honest with the kids
and let them know what I needed from them. They are 
great kids, they would have stepped up to
the plate if I had allowed it.... I shouldn't have 
treated them like they were still my little babes, still trying to protect
them from all things sad.
I actually was not told until the 4th day that Johnny would survive.

I have lots of family here, my kids and lots of friends.
but I didn't lean on any of them
that was a big mistake because it wasn't fair to any of them
that I didn't let them know how very serious it was.
Johnny is their father, their brother, uncle, brother-in-law
son-in-law and friend

Johnny's sisters live out of state and kept asking....should we come
do you need us
and I just couldn't say yes...and really, I don't even know why
In my mind I just kept thinking I don't want to burden anyone
what the heck...I've never considered myself any kind of martyr
but here I was doing just that, only I didn't see it then. Maybe I
was trying to not face the fact that we didn't know if
it would be ok and so by not admitting it, it wasn't real.

A couple of days after the stroke a very dear friend
called me....after asking how Johnny was, what the drs were saying
she asked "how are you"
and I broke down
I should not have been holding all of that in and
through sobs I told her that I needed her
I don't even know how she understood what I said
but all I heard was...I'm on my way. She has 2 young
children and I don't know how she arranged things
so fast but she was by my side in no time and
with Starbucks at that!! haha..

That right there should have been my clue
that I was carrying too much
Please believe me...when you are going through any kind
of crisis, lean on your family and friends!  Don't think like I did
that you don't want to burden people. I forgot....Family and Friends really
are all you ever need!! And I know if I had let my family know what
was really going on, they all would have been there for me.
But I didn't ask.

One of Johnny's sisters did come up from Atlanta and
really I can't remember if I said yes, please come or if she insisted. So
much about that time is still a blur to me, always running so
low on sleep, not eating right and not taking care of myself.

I do know that I was grateful when she arrived
I felt like a load had been lifted off of my shoulders.
I also had a dear family friend come sit with me in the
hospital and she took the lead and talked to the
drs for me as I was just getting more and more
overwhelmed. That too was like a weight lifted off of me!

Johnny's other sister in Texas kept asking but I had such guilt
asking someone to fork over so much money for a plane ticket
that I never asked her to wrong of me.

Johnny came home after a couple of weeks of being in the
hospital and rehab center.
I think it was his 2nd night home and during the middle of
the night, he had another stroke.

and did I reach out to my family and friends, no...I just
kept on trying to do it all. We were in the middle of planning our daughters
wedding and we were scheduled to have a DIY day that Sunday.
So after being in the ER all night with Johnny, I rushed
home to get food ready for friends and family coming over
to help with wedding stuff. So running on no sleep, no food and no shower, I welcomed the bridal party and family into our messy
home! haha...My sister came early to help
but really, I think she just insisted on it, I still don't think I asked.
My sisters and sister-in-law all helped clean up from the
DIY day so that I could return to the hospital.

And during this whole time, I also didn't want to be a burden to
anyone at work. My co-workers were awesome and covering for me
but I felt bad about that. So I would work from Johnny's hospital room and
then come home and log on and work until 11 and 12 at night!
Maybe I was using work as a distraction but really, I should have been
taking care of myself.

My point of this post is that I tried to do it all. I tried not to burden
other people. I tried to be the rock for my kids and Johnny. And I wasn't
always honest with my family and friends on how serious it was, how I was doing nor if there was anything they could do for me. Believe me, this
is not a healthy thing to do. I have a very, very close family, great kids,
very good friends and the best co-workers anyone
could ask for but yet, I didn't reach out. I was so
overwhelmed and stressed that I cried myself to
sleep every night. I was very foolish.....

I was on an emotional roller coaster. Scared for my husband and
excited for our daughters upcoming wedding. I can look back
now and say it was one of the worst times in my life.
After Johnny came home I was finally able to relax and enjoy
our family and the wedding planning.
I learned a lot and I'll never do that again.

People need to remember that in tough times, that really is
what family is for!!!

and now as the one year anniversary is here, I reflect back.
I love my husband so much and am so grateful that he is still
with us. So grateful that he recovered and was able to walk
 our daughter down the aisle at her wedding just 3 months later! So
very grateful for my family and friends and with apologies to
all of you, I am sorry I didn't ask for help

Johnny is Irish.....and as the saying goes...the luck of the Irish..
well, he most certainly was lucky last St Patricks Day.

and now.....we are off to see Sr Elton John in concert on this
wonderful St Patricks Day!



Irish Lass 213 said...

I remember our chats at work about this as we both worked up to our daughter's weddings that were on the same day. I can so relate to the "I can do it all myself" attitude. (But yet we read other folks the riot act that try to do the same thing.)
I keep trying to do it all myself during this time of watching over my father's finances and well being as he advances in his dementia. It is so hard to ask for help. But it's amazing when I think of the times I've been there for folks, and I know it brings good feelings when I'm helping others.
Maybe if we can just think that it is an act of love to ask for help. It does a heart good to do good things for folks you love. May you and Johnny have many, many, many more St Paddy's days to celebrate together. Much Love!!! ~~ colleen ~~ (and enjoy the concert!!!!)

LilliGirl said...

Colleen said it so well. I am so glad he is still here and applaud you for learning through that awful time. It is hard to ask for help. You 2 are an inspiration to many. May the Luck of the Irish forge on!

Kendra said...

Please please please know I will always be there but telling me you needed me made it much easier. I love you both and pray to some day experience the true love that you share. You are both my inspiration for love, respect and a true partnership. Hugs and kisses for you both!