If I should die before I wake (part 1)

When I was a young mom with young kids, this “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer was an easy, sing-song bedtime prayer for 3 year olds. I remember having conversation with other moms debating the gloom and doom of the last line. What 3 year old wants to go to sleep in a new big kid bed, with a nightlight creating dinosaur shadows, with last words of “if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take”?

This is the time of AOL and dial up internet and one mom found the alternative lines of “may Angels watch me through the night and wake me with the morning light”. Yet even then, a kid who thinks some angel with a sword like St. Michael watching them sleep is a bit inauspicious.

Fortunately, I am not three so it never scared me. Not that is was my go-to prayer but I actually found comfort that I could sleep peacefully knowing I was in my Father’s hand.

That is until I had a stroke.

Of course death is a certainty of life but we don’t dwell or fear it until it stares you in the face. And that’s the thing about fear…..it isn’t scary at all until it becomes personal. (Kind of like public speaking, dental work, jumping out of airplanes- it’s all well and good until it’s your turn). And this death thing had become very personal. Not just for me – but the welfare of my husband and kids. I mean – what would they do without me? The house would probably fall apart, with no food, stinky clothes, foul mouths, greasy hair….. right?!? No, that’s not true I know but I am most definitely not ready to leave them!

I stare death in face and I’m not laughing. I am very scared.

My memories run like this: I fell out of my car in the ER parking lot laying there paralyzed from the neck down until some (angel) found me. I said to her ” I think I’m going to die” to which she replied not on my watch. My next memory is a week? or so later being unloaded at Brooks Rehab late at night scared out of my mind!!!! I had no real concept of what happened, who I was, who were “they”, or where I was. Not to mention I couldn’t feel or move half my body! I was so afraid to sleep, so afraid, thinking if I fell asleep I would die. And for 3 or 4 days I didn’t sleep: if I should die before I wake. I wasn’t ready.

Something that once comforted me now scared the heck out of me – like a three year old in a new bed seeing creepy shadows on the wall and hearing strange things in the night.

We all know sleep is vital to health in general but with a brain recovery such as what I was about to face, I needed sleep for resting and especially for healing. After a million questions and much coaxing, I let them prescribe me a drug and dosage that I, “Dr. Sonia”, approved of! And I slept. And it was so wonderful. Now I couldn’t be ‘afraid’ to go to sleep because it was forced on me but I still had a lot of anxiety during the coming days just thinking about it: not sleeping but death.

I have cheated death before. Once when I was 20, a second time in 2008 after an at home miscarriage (my fourth) that I thought I could handle and here I was at deaths door again- 3rd times a charm huh?! I knew if I didn’t learn some real life lessons and start asking myself some real tough questions, I may not get another chance at this beautiful thing called life.

…to be continued


Crying Over Spilled Milk

My ego told me not to write again until I did research on how to properly blog and get myself comfortable maneuvering around this beast. I totally have a word processor brain in an age of the supercomputer. On top of recent dead brain cells according to my MRI.

But I’ve had a bad week and it seems to keep tumbling around like a tornado spinning trash and picking up my good healthy leaves as the days go on. So as I sat at physical therapy waiting for the hour and 15 minutes to pass, I had no choice but to reflect on these terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Because this seemed to be my last straw. If one person looked at me and smiled I was in serious danger of breaking out the ugly cry!! Despite looking at my schedule 3 times the night before – I still screwed it up and got the times and therapies all messed up. And I was dropped off at the wrong building so now I was stuck waiting. And I was hungry!

As fate would have it, there was an awesome cafe within smelling distance and clearly! eating food would have eased up on my frustrations but my credit card wasn’t in my pocket so I assumed I left it at home (despite just paying $70 in co/pays with it)! I most certainly wasn’t thinking right. I even texted my husband one of those pouty, frowny faces daring him, silently begging, mentally ‘telepathing’ him to turn around and bring me cash and sit with me in those uncomfortable chairs packed like sardines for like, the rest of my life!! Stroke brain? Blonde moment? I don’t know for sure but this is true for all of us: when we cry over spilled milk, we fail to recognize the good in our life at that very present moment. We fail to see the big picture. We can let this one moment break us or we can build upon it. And if we aren’t building, putting one foot in front of the other then we are stuck – like quicksand in the backwoods with the swamp thing coming after us!

And here I sat crying over spilled milk. These accumulated days of bad timing, nothing going the controlling way I expected it or wanted it, overwhelmed by a long list of errands that screams the reminder that I’m not the same independent person I once was and still depending on getting rides. I was angry, frustrated, hurt, feeling sorry for myself…oh and hungry!

We all have those days where nothing goes the way it’s supposed to – the days where it seems the world is against us – we are climbing our mountain only to keep getting pushed back down.

As I sit moping about how “horrible” my life is, I think back to what started it all. It was something small – nothing to write home about it. But I couldn’t process it enough to let it go. It really was not a big deal until something else happened…and the festering began and Murphy’s Law took over and God took a complete back seat except the occasional “why God?”.

To cry or not to cry? – that is the question. Of course it’s ok to cry! Heck, if you drink soy or almond milk- your spilled milk is way more worthy to cry over than mine! We are human – we have emotions and we react to those feelings. Sometimes quickly, sometimes with anger, laughter, tears, hives, and even full blown temper tantrums. But these moments- these horrible, no good, very bad moments give us some important opportunities. Even if it is only a “why God”- we are still seeking Him out for answers, for consolation, for pause and reflection- we are seeking Him like Three Wise Men in a far away dark land and nothing pleases Him more. Matthew 6:25 Jesus says “I tell you, do not worry about your life” and then He says strive first for the Kingdom of God.

Now if you went to parochial school, right about now you are humming “seek ye-e first, the key-ing-dom of God, and His righteousness. Ask and it shall be given unto you – allelu. alleluuuuia”. So why seek first the kingdom of God? Because we are human. We can not rule over ourselves. We err in sin and judgement-we are prejudice, selfish, vengeful; we worry and we are distrustful. So we need God and He wants us- He longs for us- He wants us to knock on His door. And He surprises us doesn’t He? I think this has happened to just about every driver…. you are running late in a 2 lane no passing zone and the oldest woman alive is in front of you. It’s literally driving you insane. Your hands grip the wheel a little tighter, your teeth clench a little harder- there is just no end in sight. You already have envisioned yourself fired from your job, your husband is going to divorce you, the kids are going to start doing drugs- I mean life is over! All because blue haired granny is going 15 miles under the speed limit. You’ve been there right? Please leave a reply that you have otherwise I may check myself in the looney bin!!!

But aha!!! The light- the bright North Star the wise men were seeking – no wait, it’s blue and red, it’s a cop and he’s directing people not to the manger but to the side of the road and here it comes…! Instead of why God it’s now thank You God. And that’s just how it works. The big picture comes to light. We see the North Star and are reminded that God wants us to slow down and bring Him with us in everyday moments!

So cry if we must over spilled milk. Let’s not linger in it for too long because it turns sour real quick!

Clean it up – preferably with a servants heart – but move on. The day will get better. The puzzle piece will find it’s home and the picture will be revealed.

By the way, I’ve put almond milk with vanilla on my grocery list-

just in case of emergencies!

PS: I know my grammar and punctuation are horrible and once upon a time I would have cared. Cared very deeply. Today, it’s ok. Perfectionism is totally overrated!

why knox

Why now?why not?why knox?

the sloth?

that pretty much sums me up right now: literally,physically,mentally, spiritually, and always mathematically!   Oh! and well,  the sloth is just really huggable! ☺️

The journey of life can sometimes rush by so quickly – like how did my baby become a senior in high school?! Or it can go by painfully slow- like the “what-Ever” ages from 13-16. Or it can be an amazing time- like the baby stages of babbling to talking and crawling to walking.  And that is how I am feeling now: bedridden  to wheelchair to cane to……

the possibilities are endless. The journey IS the same for all of us isn’t it? Painstaking and awesome and fast and slow all rolled up into this thing called life.

My one year mark is approaching and I’m not really sure what to call it:   My Stroke, The Day I Almost Died, The Day I Got Another Chance, The Day I Heard God’s Voice, The Day I Started Mountain Climbing.

All of those but mostly the day I opened my eyes to some most important lessons in life (literally, physically, mentally, spiritually). And that is the why…and the now.

I am trying: Trying hard, in my recovery and most importantly, trying to follow the footsteps of Jesus.  Allowing Him to carry me when I need to be, push me when I don’t wanna, and pull me when I’m being slothlike.

We all need a helping hand and it’s the sharing of your stories that I learn and grow. So I am stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing my journey and my heart: whyknox!


Here I am

So here I am…updating a little on my progress.  Its been a ride for sure. When I think about how far I’ve come the word amazing and awesome is forefront.  Then God just blends into those words because He has been amazing and awesome to me.

I must thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers and meals! Your kindness to me and my family has truly been the wind beneath us carrying us through!  Cliff and I are so grateful and please know that we have kept you in our prayers of thanksgiving as well.

So I am walking with a cane! I use my chair at home because it is faster moving around and I can carry things in my lap. The therapists don’t approve of that but understand that it makes life more manageable. ( my kids think I’m being lazy…) (“whatever”).

My left side is still deficit (hemiparesis)- I have no feeling on that side. Which is what is sooo amazing!!!! I can walk and I don’t even feel my leg or my foot hitting the ground!!  If you pay attention you will notice that I make a slight stomping noise when I step.  That is me using my sense of hearing to make up for that loss. Isn’t God awesome?!!

My therapists want me to trust that my leg will hold me up but as you know, trust takes time. God wants us to trust Him in all things. I trust God completely in most things- I really do… but trusting my leg to hold my big butt upright is whole ‘nother thing! One step at a time- one day at a time.  That is all we can do.

Also you may not know this but it takes A LOT  of brainpower to walk! Something so easy that we have been doing since we were babies – something we take for granted makes me mentally tired.  I have to tell my brain ” pick it up- heel first- toes out- shift my weight- tighten my muscles- hip straight ” – ugh! It’s exhausting just typing it! But like everything else in life- repetition! Repetition! Repetition!!

I have propioception which means I don’t know where my left arm and leg are in space hence I’m always asking “where’s my arm”.  It’s always a joke in my family kinda like “is your refrigerator running?…well you better go after it!”

But that also makes me a danger to myself as sometimes it gets caught in my chair and I don’t know it or I could lay it on the hot stove etc… I can hold things sometimes but just  don’t trust me with your China!

My first thought after the stroke was will I walk again?  I made a goal to walk by Easter. The Resurrection! My own personal resurrection in a sense. God saved me that day on October 19th. Like the burning bush “I Am Who Am”, He spoke to me.

(In case nobody heard the story – I will copy and paste from my fb)

Now, He didn’t ask me to lead the Israelites out of Egypt thank goodness because I don’t possess nor do I want to possess those kind of leadership skills (slothlike I am) but He did want me to lead myself to the emergency room so I wouldn’t die.

And Moses responded “here I am”.

He listened. And trusted.

So God calls us. Either in a burning bush or a slight whisper: maybe by placing someone in our life or maybe even taking it away/ or almost taking it away.  We can ignore it or we can respond.

Here I am Lord.   What now? What next? We listen and we trust.  Right now I’m walking and talking and I have a grateful heart. Thank you Lord. Thank you for friends. Thank you for the gift of life. Death comes like a thief in the night so I know each day is a gift and I  will use each day to serve You in whatever way You lead me.