Don’t give up on them

As she gained confidences in her speech, she attempted to speed up, and then the words got jumbled again. But she had learnt – take a deep breath, stop, start again.

It took her weeks of hard work and determination. Weeks on a ward, away from home and friends, for that word to come back. At the beginning, it was frustration. She screamed “no!” at all those people who did not understand, she pushed them away, she cried. The stroke had taken away her words, that she had used for so many years, teaching in school, knowing the literature so intimately. And all of a sudden, gone. No way to express that the TV was too loud so she couldn’t collect her thoughs, no way to ask how to get the words back. I have to admit very few people were confident she’ll regain more than basic expressions over time.

So she tried, and talked. She talked to anyone who was around, to friends and family, and tried and tried and tried. She wanted those words back. That willpower turned into an incredible medicine – she did not give up. Everyday, as words got jumbled – deep breath, stop, start again. And now there we were, weeks later, having a conversation. She was healing, not with drugs, but from the inside.

As I moved to the next bay, I could tell he had given up. With his hands over his forehead, he tried to get a word out, then shook the head, tried again, and then scoffed and stopped. He could have done it, I wanted to tell hin, I wanted to shake him, look at her! She did it! But too much time had passed now.

Don’t give up on them, don’t let them give up. Even when you think there is nothing you can do, there is still lost they can do. And they can heal, from the inside.