Monday morning after the kids had finally left for school I sat down to read my emails and recover from the weekend of all things family (photos to come). I opened one from C which began, "Some bad news. AM broke her leg playing hockey on Sunday. Both tibia and fibula. She underwent surgery and had a plate and pins put in." That was bad enough, thank you very much. A mother of four children ages 3, 9, 11 and 13 who works part time managing several apartment buildings which her family owns, AM has a a lot on her plate and being laid up with a full cast on her leg and months of recovery ahead of her was bad enough but then I went on to read the second paragraph.
"Sometime during the night, after the surgery she had a stroke. It affected her right side and she cannot move her leg, arm and is having trouble speaking."
I didn't process this right away. The phone rang and D was on the line and said, "How can this have happened?" We must have opened up the email at exactly the same time. AM is my age. She is an athlete, she doesn't smoke and she is, as I always describe her, the goodest person I know. How can she have had a stroke? Immediately emails started flying around and over the past four days more information has been passed along and this morning I called the hospital and was able to talk to her for a few minutes. She is improving, can speak and is able to move her right leg. Her husband is commuting the 45 minutes from home to the hospital daily and they hope to move her closer to home next week. Her youngest and the two month old puppy they just got are staying with friends for the short term and her sister has flown home from Greece to take care of the kids. In the words of one friend, "the hockey, soccer and school Moms have moved in and have the older kids continuing with their regular routines." Of course meals are being taken care of and they are doing as well as can be expected.
I think what really hit me was the thought - it's not what people will say about you when you're gone but they'll do for you when you're still here and need them. AM has a close knit family and an incredibly diverse group of friends, many of whom have know her since birth. I met her when I was 13 but my Other Half has known her his whole life. She is the sort of person who comes into any situation and makes everyone feel at ease. She is a connector, bringing people together from all walks of life. She is one of the few religious people I know but never makes you feel uncomfortable about it. I have often envied her her faith.
I know she is going to recover but it is going to be a very long road. All the things she and her family have taken for granted will have to be rethought and reprioritized but if anyone can make it through what is to come it will be AM and the multitude of people who will be there to help.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee - Pachinko parlor in Nara, Japan The sign of a good book is feeling bereft at the end. After finishing *Pachinko* by Min Jin Lee (2017), I spent days picking...