Back to life


Every experience in our lives leaves their mark. It molds our character and sculptures us into the perfect person that we are supposed to be. After several years, I have been able to turn my limitations to advantages.

One of the main changes that being paralyzed had on me was that I have become emotionally very sensitive and intense. And as a defensive respond to this I also became very numb. Meaning that things can be happening around me, and I would sit there looking like there was nothing going on. But if something should happen that would touch me inside just a little bit then immediately the clouds burst. And my heart pours itself out in the form of weeps and tears.

It is the summer 1995, six months after a stroke.  After several months of rehab in Helsinki, it is time to face the life what used to be normal. Face all those so familiar places and people full of wonderful warm memories.  It is a beautiful summer day, and it is time to go back home. I feel numb as the taxi cruises along the highway. I had no idea, no sense of what my life was going to be. It was the first time in my life that I had no plans or dreams for the future. None, what so ever.

These past six months between hospital and rehab center may have helped a little with my medical situation, but it did not do anything for my soul and my spirit. It is here back at home that the healing can start. Little did I know that to heal one´s soul and spirit you should rip out your heart, tear it all apart and then put it back together very patiently. It would take time, years. It would take help of family and friends. Not for their compassion or tender words. The healing would come out of their eyes. Some eyes full of pity, others full of sorrow. It hurt IT HURT! Allot. I cried so very much. I did not realize it back then that was the beginning of the healing process.

A lot of the blessings that I have are in the form of good friends. There were those who were there all of the time. For others took some time to cope with the situation and get the strength to be around me again. Of course, there were some who vanished. I don´t judge them though; it is a difficult situation to handle and not everybody knows how to deal with it. Hell, I still meet people that don`t how to handle themselves around me.

After the stroke, I began to appreciate people in a different way. Especially family and friends, without them I wouldn’t have been anything. I would not have made it. Not just those who are around me but also those that are thousands of kilometers away. They could not be here with me in person, but that did not stop them to be with me in spirit every single day.

Friends played a very big role in the story of my life. In a way their lives and having them share this with made me feel that I still had a life. Their present to me was the greatest aid. Even in those moments when they just sat there in quite. Those comfortable moments of silence were immeasurable.

However, lucky and blessed I was by having this lovely family and great friends, there was still a part of me that was very lonely. No matter how happy I was for them when they were making their lives; having boyfriends and spouses, starting their families and having babies. I would see this and think; “I am paralyzed, stuck to a chair, in need of an assistant for every single thing. I will never have this; I will always be alone and never will I have somebody with me to make it all more bearable”. Nobody knew it, but there was a huge black hole of loneliness deep inside of me hidden behind a stubborn smile that refused to quit.

Like everything happens for a reason, every action produces a reaction. The rebel in me devoured the feelings of loneliness, and I grew strong, build up faith and hope, to always be positive and never giving up. And as this all was happening I started to live, not just surviving. Life went on, and I found my ways to enjoy. Then out of the blue…  “SURPRISE, SURPRISE!”   (That will come in another blog)

Sometimes the most ordinary things can be extraordinary when done with right people. Like being always home after stroke, was still ok and did not feel all that bad because I had right people around me. I was blessed to have these people. I want to take this chance to thank them all from the heart; “hey guys, you all know who you are. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done for me.  I must sincerely confess that I don´t know if I would have had the same patience to sit with a paralyzed friend like you all had with me. Guys, you may not know this, but YOU held my roots tight through the worse storm and kept me standing straight when I could not do it myself. “Love you…”


Comments (4)

  1. Anneke Rhodes 19.10.2013 09:38

    Thank you for charing, really clear what it takes to adapt to the new you and why some people are having such difficulties with that and others- with the right circumstances- can cope. And you are still developing your spiritual strengths. You do not mention if or in what way God played a role in this process… may be some other time.

  2. Anneke Rhodes 19.10.2013 09:46

    You ever read one of the books of Joni Eareckson? An American lady who got paralized after a diving accident. I bet she must have a website by now.

  3. Kat Hawkins 25.10.2013 06:59


    I was in tears as I read this one. You give me great insight to your life of silence in a chair but full of hope now and a great spirit! Wow, I feel your pain and wish I could give you back some of your ability to move your body
    but you give me the ability to move my spirit with this great insight. You are so strong 🙂

  4. Reetta Hämäläinen 12.11.2013 14:14

    Hei Kati! Olen lukenut kirjasi Silmänräpäys ja ihmettelen kuinka olet selvinnyt eteenpäin noin kovan koettelemuksen kanssa. Itse menen paniikkiin jo pelkästä ajtuksesta sairastua noin vakavasti kuin sinun osallesi tuli.Elämä on todella epäreilua, olemme menettäneet kaksi lasta vakavien sairauksien murtamina.Toivon että voisit jotain kertoa kuinka olet selvinnyt järissäsi. Toivon Sinulle ja perheellesi kaikkea hyvää, ja voimia elämässä.Kohteliaimmin Reetta Hämäläinen

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