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The stroke affected the right side of her body and because it occurred on the left side of the brain where language is, she is also suffering from Aphasia, which affects her verbal communication. I switch 12-hour shifts at the hospital with my father. I massage her, give her nice things to listen to: the Qur’an, brain wave frequencies, song. Mostly I sit and wait with her — just in case.

We were all alone and cut off from the world, immersed in our roles and duties as caregivers but I felt a silent camaraderie between us. Because it is a lonely road. I didn’t realize how much so until we returned back home to California.

I never thought, at this age, I would be a caregiver for my 70-year-old mother and my 7-year-old boy. Even the term caregiver is far too selfless a term for me. I am a selfish creature thrust into a selfless situation; destiny gives me far too much credit. Now at home, I cannot help but think of myself.

Her inability to speak has been the hardest part. Sometimes I don’t remember what her voice sounds like anymore. I like to play old videos I have of her with my boy. I watch them with him sometimes; I want him to remember how she was. Maybe through memory, we can will her back out of her current silence.

My friends and family tell me that I’m young and need to focus on career and building my own life, that caregivers could be hired.

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