My Mom Had a Massive Stroke Two Weeks Ago
At 26, I never thought I was old enough to get one of those life-shattering phone calls. But my phone did ring, and I already know that nothing will ever be the same again.
Photos courtesy Chloe Stillwell | Edited by Lilly Dancyger
She asks for carrot cake from our favorite restaurant, and Oreo Thins, and a brownie blast sundae from Sonic. This is maybe the oddest quirk of my new mother, the product of a stroke that happened just months before my 26th birthday. The mother I grew up with hated sweets. But now she wants bourbon-glazed pecan pie, and if I hold the Styrofoam ice cream container on her tray up to her, she’ll use her good hand to claw at it until she’s scraping through the bottom.
This version of my mother also might speak Spanish, because I walk in often to the TV on Telemundo. I ask, “Is that what you really want to watch?” She nods, “yes.” She half speaks, half sings to the nurses, telling them to call her Lola, because she’s at the Copacabana. She does not care much for flowers, something she used to love. All of the gorgeous bouquets and potted arrangements that have shown up are now relegated to the far windowsill and the floor. She does, …