Amazing Fathers: 11 Years Post-Stroke & Grateful for Every Day With My Dad by Belinda Lichty Clarke
Eleven years ago, my father, a university professor, had a massive stroke. They told us in the ER it was a severe bleed and he'd likely not make it through the night.
They were wrong.
The day after his stroke, he was awake and could move fine, but he couldn't put any words together. He knew who we were, but just barely. He was confused by what he saw on TV. We brought him photos of his grandsons to jog his memory. As the days progressed, he improved rapidly, but it was uncertain if he'd ever teach or type or read or even drive again.
Undaunted, he spent the next year clawing his way back, taking advantage of technologies like video games and light therapies. He committed to hours upon hours of speech therapies and occupational therapies.
A year after his stroke, he returned to Northwestern to teach his final class. He was ready to retire, but he had achieved his goal and made almost a full recovery.
This week, we celebrate his 81st birthday and Father's Day. We will celebrate later, since he is off another adventure, this one in Santa Fe, N.M. Rest assured, he'll get a cake, and instead of “Happy Birthday,” I think I'll write "Carpe Diem."