Depression

20 Days Later

Mom had a stroke on 7/31. We were in Chicago for a work assignment of mine and lucky enough to get the chance to visit family. I scolded and lectured my mom about my brother a few days prior and upset her.  I was at my in-laws when I got the call from my mom asking me how I was doing. She sounded tired and a bit muffled but I didn’t really notice right away. She then proceeded to tell me that her face was a little droopy but there’s no need to panic because she thinks it may be an allergic reaction. Panic immediately set in and I asked her to go to the emergency room. I asked to speak with my sister and she was very calm and said she thought it was an allergic reaction to Benadryl or a depression symptom pill she took from a coworker. I yelled “Do you even know what a stroke is?!?” She was taken aback that I would accuse her of being inept at suspecting such a thing and said “Um…yes I do.” I said, “B, please just take her to the Emergency Room!” She said, “I have the boys here. And I think we are overreacting and should just wait.” I became very upset, asked to speak to mom again and begged her to go to the e.r. After hanging up, my entire lower body felt numb…cheeks burned…the beat of my heart pounded in my ears.  10 minutes later, my sister called back to say that her blood pressure was dangerously high and that they were on their way to the Hospital. She was admitted and I stayed with her almost 24/7 until I had to leave 2 days later. They told her it was a minor stroke caused by hypertension and diagnosed her as a full-blown diabetic. Sugar and cholesterol through the roof. It was so difficult to see her in that bed. A few days prior she was running after my toddler through the sprinklers at the park. She’s 68. She’s home now trying to get back to her old self and struggling. Still has the facial droop and is very fatigued after walking for just a few minutes. She is not her positive self  and very depressed. I’m devastated.

20 days later, I’m able to sleep through the night without the terror that I will receive a call stating that she’s had another stroke or worse. I’ve managed to find a way to simply ignore the possibility. I was angry at my husband for not being as sad as me. For not loving my mom as much as I do. How ridiculous of me.

The D didn’t need to creep up like other times. It just simply knocked down the door the moment I learned of mami’s stroke. I’m fighting. Wishing, hoping and praying my mom will fight too.

Everything is so different now.

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Writing with my Childhood Self

Today, I’m going to write freely and without concern.  This is difficult for me. When I write, I edit myself obsessively and find it difficult to get through a first draft without reviewing and revising after each sentence.  I know it’s a habit that makes the writing process more challenging than it ought to be.  But the mere acknowledgement of the issue has not prevented me from editing this introduction paragraph at least 30 times. The first step is admitting I have a problem.

I fear criticism.

There it is.

I know this fear is the very thing that oftentimes prevents me from enjoying the activity that has brought me a universe of happiness. I have loved to tell stories since I could remember. As a child, I wrote about pink lions in bathing suits and never concerned myself with who was going to read it. The adult me sweats over every word and doesn’t always delight in the creative process.

I’m going to stop now to write about a childhood memory. I will try to channel my inner kid and try to write without concern.

Be Right Back.

10 minutes elapsed

Ok. I’m glad I didn’t set myself a time limit. I knew what I was going to write about before starting but I still hesitated for a few seconds before I just forced my fingers to move.  After about 8 minutes I just stopped.  I read through it once and capitalized two words.

I wasn’t 4 years old.

I was 3.

Read on.

Writing with my Childhood Self

“My house burned down today. I am 4 years old. Last night it was hot and I played with my sister and her doll got wet from the pump*.  Mami didn’t let us run in the street and play with the pump because she was worried that boys might want to touch us or steal us. I really wanted to play with the water. My sister’s doll got wet because Mami started throwing water at us from the kitchen sink. She had water in bowl outside and kept splashing us with the water so that we could feel like we were playing in the pump with the rest of the kids.  Mami started blowing bubbles and one got into my eyes and they burned.   

I remember hearing sirens and yelling outside while we were on the sidewalk playing. It was like that a lot in the hot weather on Karlov street. We lived near Armitage and Pulaski in Chicago, IL.  I remember my sister and her doll but I don’t remember her face. If I see a picture now I can remember her. I don’t remember the baby.

It was me, the baby, my sister and Mami in the house sleeping.  I just remember hearing crackling like popcorn at night. I remember Mami grabbing me and running and I don’t know if my little sister was in her arms or not. I just remember Mami leaving me outside and running back inside the house.  My godmother and godfather lived up the block and I ran to their house. When I ran to their house I saw fireworks on the back of my house. I was so scared. I was worried about my pink big wheel bike. 

I remember seeing the firemen carrying a stretcher with my sister. She was all dusty and grey and I thought she was just sleeping.  But then I found out that she died.  And I wondered if it hurt.”

*fire hydrant

The Daily Post-Writing Honestly