To the editor,
Strokes can destroy lives. Recovery from strokes is a slow and often painful process, both physically and mentally.
I have experienced the consequences of stroke personally. My late husband, Sherman MacDonald, suffered a stroke when he was at the relatively young age of 59. The stroke left him with aphasia (the inability to speak).
For a raconteur like Sherman, whose wit and tales entertained scores of persons throughout his adult life, finding yourself unable to speak as you had been able to do could only be a devastating experience. Nonetheless, the strength of will and the sheer moral power of an individual suffering from this kind of challenge is truly remarkable.
I have seen that strength more recently in other stroke victims. It is amazing to me to see how determined and heroic stroke victims can be. Needless to say, the support and encouragement of the community is a great help.
Understanding stroke is not always easy. Patience and insight are not qualities in everyone.
I know that my own capacity to understand and feel compassion is limited. Nevertheless, the challenge for me, formidable as it was, proved to be a great blessing.
It is good to donate to the agencies dealing with stroke. But more important than the donation of money, it is the understanding of stroke and our personal connections with persons who are dealing with the aftermath of a stroke, that benefits us all.