"Grief anniversaries and memories – acknowledging grief, promoting resilience " is the theme chosen for this year’s Grief Awareness Month of August. Jennie Nolan shares her story in Aurora Magazine.
On Christmas Eve, 1987, an event occurred that would change my life and my husband's life forever. I was 34 weeks pregnant with our first baby and had just taken leave from teaching.
I was rushing around, getting ready for Mass when an inexplicable feeling of tiredness hit me like a wave. I lowered myself to the floor and managed to call my husband. My husband's name was the last word I managed to say for four hours.
I could not move my right side. Everything felt heavy. I had no idea what was happening. I was conscious. The ambulance arrived, closely followed by the Intensive Care team. When my husband told them I was eight months pregnant, it was action stations all around.
I heard the word "stroke" mentioned. It did not compute.
Strokes only happened to the elderly. Was I in for some education! Strokes can happen at any age − even to babies in the womb.
I was lying in the maternity ward, unable to answer questions, frustrated because the answers were in my mind, but I just could not physically form the words.
After days of tests, it was determined that I had CVA. What is this? I managed to articulate. A cardio vascular accident, I was told.
What happened to my baby? He managed to stay in utero until 39 weeks gestation. I am proud to say I delivered him naturally. He is now a doctor at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, taking care of patients in ICU! There’s an irony there.
Christmas Eve is very significant for us. For several years I had a lot of difficulty with this day. I did not recognise that I was grieving the loss of my former self and the changes the stroke brought.
Along comes an opportunity to be involved with Seasons for Growth, an education program for children and adults dealing with grief.
Now is the winter of our grief (Aurora Magazine)