3 poems on the thunder of stroke

June 24, 2015

My poetry unclothes me;

my heart, my soul

unwrapped, uncovered

left for others to read,

interpret, understand.

It opens new doors

Into which others can see,

reflect, and react.


Dear God,

Did you have to teach the lesson this way?

With one stroke you caused a thousand storms.

Dear God,

Did you have to teach the lesson this way?

With one stroke you caused a thousand storms.


I cannot forget the thunder of the moment and the lightning strikes that followed.


 The Fifteenth of November


I try hard to forget;

Yet I can still remember

When this nightmare started

On the 15th of November.

It was an evening like any other

When it all began.

I suddenly heard these funny noises

Coming from my man.


He was breathing hard and heavy,

So I jumped up just to see.

I saw at once there’s trouble

And surmised what it could be.


His eyes were both wide open

And he was in a daze;

I knew we needed help

That only 911 could raise.


Thankful that the I-phone

Was resting right nearby.

I told him I was calling

As I looked him in the eye.


Help came quite quickly

They knew just what to do.

From me they wanted answers,

A recent medical review.


Again, back to the Iphone,

Meds were all listed there,

Along with doctor’s names and numbers

I once had entered with such care.


I was going through the motions

I was answering what they asked

They needed to know so much

About his recent past.


Ambulance and red lights

Questions all the way

It was my confusion

With them, order all the way.


Then there was the hospital

Reality sinking in

Life and death decisions

My mind in such a spin.


A major stroke he’d suffered

And quite a state he’s in

After being told the odds

I notified rest of kin.


This was the real thing

We would have to wait

Would he last the night now?

Or were we still too late?


Minutes turned to hours

As we sat by and waited

Needless to say

By then quite agitated.


We listened to the doctors

We heard what they had to say

And then we watched and waited

Through the night and into day.

I keep trying to forget
But always I remember
Each detail of that scary day
The fifteenth of November.

I cannot forget the helplessness I felt as you reminded me the nearness of death to life.



Terror is despair;

that helpless feeling

seeing loved one down

and your heart reeling.


Numbly walking through

the hours of the night;

near to hear his breathing,

crying out his sight.


Seeing death’s shadow

standing there beside him;

feeling powerless to challenge,

And praying, ” don’t let death win!”

My heart leaped when he finally opened his eyes, when he blinked in response to the doctor’s questions, and the first wiggle of the toes on his affected foot.  Progress and promise.


I Could Only Imagine

I could only imagine

The fear that I would know

Waking from a deep sleep

After such a massive blow.


To wake up in a strange place

With nothing ‘round me clear.

Thinking only something happened

Something quite severe.


If I could not remember coming there,

And even not from where

I guess it would be confusing.

And fill me full of fear.


I would try to get my bearings

And reassess my state

But if I couldn’t move or speak

I guess I’d have to wait.


When this happened to my loved one

I worried ‘bout his fate.

With docs and nurses scurrying

I too was in a state.


When at last his eyes were open

The doctor turned to him to speak

“You have had a stroke,” he said

“And now you’re very weak.


You are in a hospital

And you are getting care

The best is just to rest now

So your body can repair.


Your left side has been affected

And your speech has too

I know things are confusing

And difficult for you.


You are getting best of care here

It will take time to heal

I will be back tomorrow

To check on how you feel.”


My husband did not tell me this

Although now he speaks quite well

He has not shared those feelings

In this new life we dwell.


So I could only imagine

The nightmare to which he woke

As I watch him face the challenges

Each day after stroke.


God, you taught us all about the damage that storms can cause, and the hard work and effort it takes for the cleanup.   We found dedicated caregivers  and devoted doctors in our path to recovery.  

We learned the comfort of family and the test of friendships.  We could not stand alone.

We found new meaning to those words, “in sickness and in health, ’til death due us part.”

He learned how to ask for help.

I learned how to recognize his needs and respond to his calls.


That Stroke Affected Both Of Us

Like a nightmare

That repeats each day,

We both wake up each morning

And try best to wish away.


Still locked within his prison

Trying hard to make it work,

I know it’s quite a struggle

This ‘twist of fate,’ a quirk.


I watch, as with much effort

He climbs out of the bed.

Truth is that the both of us

Have a very hard day ahead.


We can’t turn the clocks back.

We have to make it due.

But, together, we can make it.

This, I know be true.


It takes two to argue

And I won’t be that second one.

For we have to work together

And try best to make life fun.


Just to walk and talk

Is hard for him just now.

But patiently I watch and listen

And we get by somehow.


When I do remind him

Of exercises he should try,

He gets upset and angry

Not wanting me nearby.


“I only wish it on you,”

That is what he said.

“Only two weeks, so you could know.”

What was in his head?


I thought it cruel,

And told him so

For those words did hurt,

And were a blow.


Does he not know that his stroke

Affected both of us that night?

That he alone is not the victim

For both of us it’s a fight?


I’m not saying his role is easy.

I’m not running the other way.

Both of us are tired

As we make it through each day.


I wouldn’t want his place now,

That place he’s stuck within.

That place he’s wishing me to go,

The places he has been.


It will take much effort.

I know he wants to win.

I know he aims to leave that place

He finds himself now in.



He thinks that he knows all the rules.

It’s his way that he tries.

He’s looking for the door out

Of the world he now occupies.


And, for me, it’s ‘one day at a time.’

I help him where I can.

I fit things in for me too.

But make no long-term plan.


This stroke affected both of us

Each in its own way

But I know we can make it

And all will be okay.


It isn’t easy to change roles; to step up to part of caregiver, to acknowledge this ‘new normal.’   

God, give us the guidance to focus on ‘today’ and not fall prey to the dreams of yesterday.  Help us see through any clouds of despair and find beauty in each color of the rainbow. Teach me ways to give warning to others, so they too may not fall victim to these storms. If only we had been more vigilant to your warnings. 

I cannot forget the thunder of the moment and the lightning strikes that followed.


“Human Brain” Cover Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Image ID: 100110958

Written by Sue K Green

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