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A Stroke Struck and Changed My Family Forever
Time does not wait for anyone. Can ten years fly like lightning? Isn’t it yesterday that I was not happy about what happened on August 16, 2007? Is pain no sharper than the sharpest knife ever made? Do I not try to believe the saying that time will heal and that I can finally be healed? Wow! As I look back this month, I have no choice but to thank God for bringing me and my loved ones. Without Him by our side for many years, where would we go? Time has indeed reduced indescribable pain. May the name of the Lord be magnified forever.
Back in 2003, an unexpected phone call from my brother Osa woke me up from a deep sleep. He has bad news! His close friend in Nigeria had just called to tell him that our mother had suffered a stroke – the right side of her body was paralyzed. Extreme cold swept over my spine as it shone on me, all his children. Living abroad. We are thousands of miles away. How did she get through this nightmare without anyone around her? The tears became orderly and continued until I broke the news to my sister Uy who lives in the city with me.
Trying to imagine that our mother was partially paralyzed was shocking. Anyway, I just saw it a few months ago. She was alive during her vacation with us in the United States, I saw her go to the airport and stand waving. She is almost invisible. I realized that I was watching my mother walk on both of her legs without help for the last time. Life like this!
Before the stroke, my mother lived in a world of happiness that she had created for herself. We called it “her paradise.” She loves convenience and pays for it right away. She always has staff for everything like housekeeping, chefs, drivers, gardeners and security guards or Gatemen as we call them. Mom, I do not need to lift a finger, because everything is done for her.
Her love for God is priceless. I remember she gathered the kids in the neighborhood and ate the cakes right away so that the real food (the word of God) arrived, they had no choice but to attend. She also dedicated a room in our house for prayer. When we were young, my siblings and I were afraid to be called into that room. We are known to spend at least an entire hour in prayer with hunger to try to get rid of the little concentration we struggle to maintain.
Human entertainment is something my mother did with a raw passion. Even though we have guests in the middle of the night, she has a unique way of coming to eat with or without ingredients in the house. Her love for music goes hand in hand with entertainers. Back in the early ’70s, my mother connected speakers from her bedroom to the kitchen. Can I forget how the whole house wakes up from classical music or most songs in the morning? Because music has a permanent place in our home, that’s why my mother loves art. From sculptures to paintings, she bought them as if they were in fashion. The mixed flowers in her garden are well kept, invaluable for her. She spoke to her plants daily and mourned even when the worst flower in the garden died.
Each of us had to travel to Nigeria to be with our dear mother. Although the time is not good for all of us due to coincidence, we are all facing each storm that strikes like a mad dog in our lives, my brother Osa, her only son and the last child. Jumped on the next flight.
The truth happened when Osa arrived in Lagos, Nigeria. Our mother is worse than we think. The original plan to keep her cared for until she was strong enough to travel to the United States a month or two later went out the window. Osa had to bring her back with him. They left three weeks later on a flight with a break in London.
Uy and I spent the morning preparing to receive our mother. I have a hard time figuring out what lies ahead. For one person, I could not stand to watch the sick or the afflicted. How do I go about stomach when I see my mother sick and desperate? I have no choice but to clear my fears under the rug of fate and wait until I look She. On the other hand, my sister was more prepared. She loves to take care of people and used to play with the idea of continuing to take care of people. She was mentally and physically ready to take on the challenge of caring for our mother.
I will never forget the time we met our mother and Osa in the Arrivals area of the airport. I was shocked to see my dear mother! She was far from the woman I saw going to the airport the last time she visited. Who would have thought that her next trip to the United States would be in a wheelchair? I was speechless, stuck in fear and refused. Her size and greatness had plummeted – she was half her size and desperate. The laughter of her signature, which always announces her presence, is nowhere to be found. She could hardly speak. I was in shock all day. I just could not look at her face. How can I?
That night I went to bed with her. She lay on her back and stared at the ceiling as if she were searching for answers to many questions in her mind. She seemed happy to be around her children and grandchildren, but I knew my mother was wrestling with the unfortunate trap that her body was trapped. I slept next to her in complete silence. Sleeping away from me because I was in so much pain. I looked at her in the dark and noticed tears streaming down her pillow. I cried in silence until I called for strength and asked in a voice like mine, then woke up and said, “How are you, Mom?” “I’m fine, darling,” she whispered to me.
The first few weeks were tough. We wear coats of patience, devotion and tolerance as we do everything under the sun for our mothers. She is like a newborn baby in our arms, helpless. I feed her at night while my sister takes care of her during the day. Although we feel angry because we do not know better, plus the mistake of seeing her like that has plagued us a lot. Her visit to the Special Doctor opened another chapter.
A series of tests were performed on her and she was referred to a physical therapist. Her first day in treatment was the beginning of the late death of dependence in my mother’s life. A beautiful but confident American therapist made my mother do some things we did not expect she could do, even in the presence of partial paralysis. The therapist promised not to help her unless necessary. I openly welcomed the idea with relief, but in my heart I wondered if my mother could endure it – she had been touched. My mother did not find this verdict funny. How could she? We assure her that it will be a gradual process for her own benefit. This was the beginning of the gradual expulsion of my mother, who relied entirely on us or someone to Do things for her.
We started by ignoring her relentless requests to put on an existing flight back to her comfort zone in Lagos, Nigeria. We will not save her from her “paradise” because of a stroke she has to do on her own or resign from the fate of permanent paralysis. When our mother attended the routine, she saw some patients come in without arms or legs, but were determined to do things without help. She begins to see the responsibility of relying on others to do the little things you can do for yourself. This inspired her, and with time, faith, and encouragement from everyone, she began to do things for herself, up to the skill of using her left hand and foot. She learned to prepare without assistance, getting in and out of bed on her own, moving with little or no help, feeding herself with her left hand, and even going out with her family with minimal help.
She has greatly improved and realized that her idea of ”paradise” is really hell because the ability to do things on your own is an invaluable asset. Although stroke is one of the worst things a person can experience, in the case of my mother, it helped us learn some invaluable lessons. For one thing, it reveals the evil part of dependence, teaches us patience and forbearance, increases our faith in God that nothing is impossible, promotes unity in our families, and encourages us to take advantage of it. Any situation. We learn to live every day intentionally.
We have the privilege of having our mother for another four years. We all rotate to take care of her at our house from six months to a year at a time. At around 9:30 pm on August 16, 2007, our dear mother went to Serei. It has left a huge gap in our lives, but 10 years later I can look back and thank God for seeing us through the stormy but precious part of our lives.
Darling Mommy Even though it is still the same as yesterday, your lovely memories will always remain in our hearts. I miss you so much! Enjoy the memories of your good times, your weird laughs, the mozzarella jokes and the crazy almonds and everything you stand for. I am forever grateful to God for the privilege of having a mother like you. I will always love and respect you. Thank you for bringing me to this world, the beautiful life you have given us all, your values and what you stand for. No day passes without a memory of you. May your beauty go to peace until you meet again.
May the souls of all our loved ones rest in peace in the name of Jesus.
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