This is a tough post to write. A part of me doesn’t want to write it at all. My husband definitely wasn’t comfortable with my writing at first. But it’s a big part of my experience these past 5 months, and I learned a lot from it.
Five months eight days ago (but who’s counting!), Jim had a stroke. A full out, can’t talk, can’t move the right side of his body kind of stroke. This is my healthy husband, my beloved of 14 years, and I’m looking at him unable to get up, stuck on the bathroom floor with his face plastered to the vanity. I’m hearing him call me out of bed in the middle of the night with the most gut-wrenching, horror-movie kind of noise I’ve ever heard. But I knew it was him, and I knew he needed help, fast.
And in that moment of realizing that we are facing life or death, that we’re not sure what to do, I’m not sure what is happening or WTF is going on, all I know is I love him, and we’re going to get through this. Somehow the warrior Goddess in me was called up, just like the warrior God in him was called up, and he was able to summon the strength to awaken me, 3 rooms away, from my deep slumber, even when I had the sound machine on, and even when his brain was not thinking or functioning all that clearly. He had to try several times before finding the strength of body to yell loudly enough with his oddly formed call, but he knew, from the distant recesses of his shutting-down brain, that it mattered to wake me up and to get help.
Fast forward a day and a half later and I’m bringing him back from the hospital. He has spent two days and one night in an overly-burdened, short-staffed hospital, and made the best of it. He looks like a teenager getting to play hookie when they wheel him out the front door in a wheelchair to the car. He is so happy to see me, happy he can stand and very carefully, oh-so-gingerly, step into the car and give me a wide-grinned smile. He’s alive, he can walk, sort of, and he’s coming home.
He tells me later he knew all of the tests they would be giving him to determine when he could go home, finger to nose, eye watching finger, and extending the arm again. He practiced for his tests, so that when they came to see him, he would pass. The doctors promised him a full recovery, and we were both grateful. They said it could have been much worse.
In the first days and weeks home, he sleeps most of the time, getting up only to go to the bathroom and back. A few friends come to visit to keep his spirits high, chatting with him on the couch, then helping with washing the dishes or doing other tasks, so it doesn’t all fall to me. They don’t overstay their welcome, but are careful to leave before he gets overtired from the conversation and the company.
I don’t leave the house for five days other than to go to our garden. When I finally go out, I realize how traumatized I am, and how unreal life feels. Gradually Jim and I are able to talk to each other about our fears, and about what the experience was like for us. One by one, little by little, we process the moments of the stroke, the decisions we made along the way, what we felt, what we knew, what we didn’t know.
And he begins to get better. Within a month he is able to walk around the block, then another month after that he is back on the Sedona trails, with caution. He learns how to hop and skip again. I started doing yoga as therapy with him pretty early on, private sessions progressing gradually, twice daily, for my beloved. I’ve always believed that yoga is the best medicine, and we could both see how yoga was helping him to regain muscle function, muscle memory, and balance.
Five months later, is he better? Yes, mostly. If you saw him you would never know that anything had happened. “You look great,” our friends say when they see him, and it’s true. He’s able to go on multi-hour hikes with his buddies up into the far reaches of the National Forest and the Sedona red rocks. But we’re both aware of other more subtle shifts since the stroke, areas hidden from view. When he gets overwhelmed he still takes longer to come back to emotional baseline. He needs more rest than before. And his balance still isn’t where it was, so his buddies keep an extra eye out for him on those hikes.
So what have I learned from this experience?
Life comes into pretty clear focus when you have a wake up call like that. What truly matters ~ and what doesn’t ~ come front and center.
I’m grateful for each day, each moment Jim and I have together. I’m grateful for the friends who showed up in those first critical days and weeks, supporting Jim, or helping me stay on track with putting in our first garden when Jim wasn’t up to it.
And here’s what I’ve learned about business:
- I love my work. I realize how much I care about my clients and how meaningful it is for me to help other women through the Divine Feminine Business Coaching I offer. During those challenging weeks when I wasn’t sure how my husband’s recovery was going to pan out, leading my coaching groups or private sessions was a relief and a lifeline for me. My work provided a sense of normalcy, of being of value to someone other than my husband or myself, and of contributing to life and wellbeing on this planet.
- Time flexibility is invaluable. Being a coach enables me to set my own schedule and to cut back when a crisis hits or my family needs me. I am blessed to work as little or as much as I choose. The time flexibility I have at this point in my life is something I have gained through years of dedication to my craft and years of building the leveraged structures, support materials, and team that have made it possible. I want to acknowledge myself for that, celebrate it, and hold it up as a beacon, a possibility for others. You can have that too.
- Like time flexibility, financial peace is also a precious gift I don’t take for granted. I no longer live on the edge as I did for much of my life. This peace enables me to flow with other challenges with more grace, as I have one less thing to worry about. Again, dedication to my craft, as well as studying the principles of prosperity and applying them diligently in my own work and my husband’s have enabled us to grow our businesses together, supporting each other as needed, building financial freedom together, and taking breaks when needed, like the break we both took after his stroke.
What About You?
If life were to throw you a curveball, would you be ready? Do you love your work so much it provides fulfillment and meaning when other challenges swirl around you? And could your business support you financially through a personal crisis? Do you have reliable income coming in that you can count on when you cut back your hours for a few days, or maybe even a few weeks or months?
Many small business owners or solo practitioners don’t have the business model or the structures built out yet for that to be possible. It’s important to plan for these types of contingencies. How are you going to take steps to move towards this for YOUR future?
Send me your questions:
I’m preparing a series to answer your most Frequently Asked Questions about growing and nurturing a Divine Feminine business. Just click here to email me your most burning questions (or post in the comments below if you’re comfortable with that).
Thanks, and talk soon.