Whenever I come back to blogging and writing after dealing with medical issues, events, and personal losses, I get hit with more devastation.
Within the past two weeks, I have lost two people very dear to me in different ways, from the same killer – the hemorrhagic stroke. First, I am now in Puerto Rico, where we put my ex-girlfriend’s brother Petie, to rest yesterday afternoon. When he didn’t show up for work the night of the 11th, co-workers kept calling him because it was unlike him to miss a shift. They called til his mailbox was full. His sister did the same when morning came.
It was two brothers and one sister, always looking out for each other long distance. She called consistently on the 12th, until someone answered his phone. The person on the other end was an NYPD lieutenant who broke the news to her. An autopsy was required because of his age (46), and on the 14th, the ME determined the cause as a brain hemorrhage.
Being there for me during my darkest hour, I felt that the only right thing to do as a friend, was be there for her. I loved Petie in a special way. We understood each other when it came to his sister. There was a wake in NJ for family, friends and co-workers on the 15th; we flew with his flight to Puerto Rico the 16th, had an all day wake the 17th til 10pm, and finally last viewing, church and burial, yesterday. What a week it’s been.
Two days after losing Petie, I lost a former co-worker who also suffered a hemorrhagic while sleeping. I remember working many shifts with him on over- nights. Between all the sick and injured calls we took, we always made time for some humor. One thing I knew about him was his history: hypertension. When I heard, the first question I asked was if he had still been taking care of himself. The answer was a resounding ‘Yes’. I hadn’t seen him much since my illness and the last I’d heard, he’d just recently (within the past 2-3 months) moved to Florida with his partner to start a new life. Though he passed in Florida, most of his family, friends and former co-workers still live in NJ, so he was being flown back for viewing, mass and burial. Unfortunately, I can’t pay my last respects to my friend and co-worker because I won’t be back from PR until next week. Thinking back over the past three years, out of four people who’ve had hemorrhagic strokes that I’ve known well, myself included, I’m the sole survivor. It’s hard to swallow, especially knowing that hemorrhagic strokes are the least common, with the highest mortality rate, of the two types. It makes me question why I was spared. Do I have a life mission? I know I’ve touched on this briefly in a earlier post or two, but it is really hitting me hard now.
I love writing. I say it all the time and I try focusing on it every chance I get. I ask myself sometimes too, if that’s one of the reasons death escaped me; so I could write about the killer that is a stroke: both ischemic and hemorrhagic. Am I supposed to be an advocate for those who can no longer speak for themselves? For those who left this world before their time? Or for those who think it can never happen to them and don’t take care of themselves the way they should? I don’t know. But I know that I am going to start something or somewhere along those lines. Everyone that has died was younger than 50. Younger than me. Enough is enough. There is too much loss going on and it’s got to stop. I’ve had my blog for over a year and I love it. I write it under a pen name; always have. Dont know if I will much longer. I used it because I wasn’t really comfortable sharing my story or being myself, bearing my naked soul for the world to see. I wasn’t ready. Now, I don’t care anymore.
Heck, for my fiction, I might just keep the pen name since I have authors to help when their new books come out, reviews that I’ve promised to make and writing that I need to complete. Everyone already knows me as Lilica/Lily or some variation of the two. Works for me…plus, I like it. 🙂
I’m lucky to be alive. Period. Maybe next post I’ll formally introduce myself. I don’t know anyone who’d write a memoir under a pen name. That being said,
I have no more free time to give devastation and loss that has infiltrated my life and tried to suck me dry. Get the hell out of my way; I’ve got shit to do. LE Blake
That’s all for today, my dear friends. I’m here. I’m strong. I’m determined. Most of all, I’m just pissed.
http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/brain_spinal_cord_and_nerve_disorders/stroke_cva/hemorrhagic_stroke.html http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/Types-of-Stroke_UCM_308531_SubHomePage.jsp http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/symptoms-of-a-hemorrhagic-stroke http://jomurphey.blogspot.com/
A very thoughtful post. Stay strong and fulfill your dreams.
Thanks so much Carole for your thoughtful words. I’ve started another blog in addition to this one that’s going to focus more on my life post hemorrhage if you’re interested in following it. It’s also through WP.
http://lifepostbrainhemorrhage.wordpress.com Hugs to you. Eva
So sorry for all your losses, very. My father passed from a massive stroke a year ago this February and I’m still dealing with my grief, my love, my missing him… Thanks for sharing this with us and hope you wake up each morning and grin because you ARE alive, and sharing your life with us, even if we don’t “know” your name…
Hi Lisa, I’m so sorry for the loss of your father and I understand the grief. I went through it when I lost my parents a year apart. That was quite a few years ago. It’s because of all the recent losses that I’ve chosen to share my real name, which is Eva. I need to increase stroke awareness and want to offer resources to those who need them. I’ve decided to do that under my true identity. I will keep my pen name Lily for the fiction. I hope I have the opportunity to ‘meet’ with you and communicate with you again. It would do us both good. Thanks so much for stopping by; I appreciate it. Eva
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Wow. I would be mad too. That is just awful. I don’t think I know anyone who had one of those strokes, thank God. But now I want to check them out and tell anyone I know who may be at risk to take better care.
Absolutely Elizabeth. It’s so sad because all of them were even younger than me and I’m only 48. Once I take care of a few things, I’m going to add a Memorial page to my blog for the friend I was closest to and include stroke resources, links and information. Although a lot of times there are risk factors, it can happen to anyone. Hugs.