My boyfriend had a stroke, 2/2

Now what? 

I realized I had two options. Option one (and my particular favourite in that moment) was to stay in bed for the rest of my life and feel sorry for myself while overeating pizza and chocolate or possibly a chocolate pizza. Option two, buy myself a sympathy card and pick myself up and dust myself off. Now, I may have had two options but I really only had one choice. I didn’t have the luxury (or finances) to have a complete breakdown. Rent was due the following week and the dog needed food. 

I decided to deal with one thing at a time and the first was to see if he was ok. I went to the hospital. He was awake. The nurses told me that they had never seen a recovery like his and credited to the fact that I had called 911 so quickly. The anti-coagulants they administered were able to move the blood clots quick enough to allow normal oxygen supply back to his brain. The long term effects of his stroke were still unclear but at least he wouldn’t be a vegetable. I saw him and although he couldn’t communicate verbally I could tell he was angry. He had pulled out his catheter and the IV in his hands, blood spilling everywhere. He motioned with his hands for me to leave and grumbled something angrily.  He was angry at me? I was mixed with a flood of emotions, resentment for what he had done, confusion for why he had done it and why he was acting so aggressively towards me and on top of that I was grateful that he would recover. His parents arrived and he seemed to calm down. The nurses suggested I leave. 

I spent the rest of the day in bed feeling sorry for myself. I had earned that. 

The next day I realized feeling sorry for myself was a waste of time and wasn’t going to get me out of this shitty situation. I needed money and I needed it fast. I started taking pictures of everything in my apartment and placed it for sale on Kijiji and Facebook. The sofa, coffee table, shelving units, piano, arm chair, candle sticks, picture frames, I mean everything. And then a miracle happened. My phone started buzzing with one text after another. Ding. A friend wanted my sofa, coffee table and shelves. Ding. A man on kijiji wanted my arm chair. Ding. Another friend wanted all of the smaller items from tribal masks to picture frames. Ding. Ding. Ding. By the end of the day, every last thing I had posted had sold. By the time everyone had picked up their items I had $1225, which was the exact amount of my rent. Coincidence?  If that isn’t a miracle than I am not sure what is. 

Now that rent was taken care of I could focus on what had just happened. Or try to wrap my head around it at the very least. But the thing is, I could never understand how someone could do this and it’s impossible to really grip the fact that your 37 year old boyfriend has just had a stroke. The resentment was killing me and because I would never understand why, I knew the only freedom I could get from this pain was to let it go, and maybe even forgive. So I choose compassion over the resentment. I realized that it would take a very spiritually sick person to do what he had done. I thought of how he must be hurting and the fucked up childhood he had experienced. I thought of the pain he had endured within his life and how all of that compounded was a cause of who he was and what he had done. Instead of focusing on what he took, I focused on what it might take for someone to do those things. And guess what? Another miracle. I was free. 

This change of mindset wasn’t me saying that what he had done was ok or that I would trust him again. It was me knowing that I was going to be ok and that this wasn’t my burden to carry, it was his. I was free. 

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Mackenzie Johnson