May 30, 2010

The Joyful Living Party

Don's 'Ten Years of Joyful Living' party was a week ago today. The flowers that one guest brought and the others we had scattered around the house are fading but the glow of happiness is still hanging around. It's been ten years since his stroke and even with all my husband's physical issues, he's still happy to have beaten the prognosis of two neurologists that he'd be a vegetable for the rest of his life.

Every survivor of a major health crisis should have a 'Thank God I'm Alive' type party. It gives people an excuse to tell you how important you've been in their lives and/or it gives your guests a chance to stop and be thankful for their own good health or for having overcome obstacles in their own lives. We heard a lot stories like that. And people shared their memories of happy times spurred on by old photographs they brought. The party was filled with laughter from start to finish. One good friend brought a CD he'd made of music that was representative of hunting trips he, Don and another friend had taken out West. We also have a new metal sculpture of a crane standing next to our cattail bog where he can remind us every morning that it's great to be alive.

I told Don if he ever wants another party it's going to be catered in a restaurant. It was a lot of work to throw a party for 41 people all by myself and I'm just not a person with a lot of kitchen or party planning skills. The one thing I didn't worry about at all---the individual cakes I'd ordered and paid a fortune for---turned out to be the only part of the party that I was disappointed in. They looked great but were more frosting than cake inside. But even that became symbolic of the past ten years because in the aftermath of anything that goes wrong in life, you've got to let go of the little stuff and concentrate on what went right, what is really important in life. And in this case, too sweet cake is 'little stuff' compared to the people who cared enough to make time in their busy lives to come celebrate Don's life. That's huge and we're grateful for that.



Claire said...

What a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Jean and Don:

congratulations on your 10th stroke anniversary party. you both have been so inspirational to me, that sometime I thank my stroke to be able to get to know you both through your blogs. life is worth celebrating and I am so happy for both of you that you are doing the same.


J.R. said...

Thank you both. I honestly think having parties at the 5 and 10 year markers turned what could be a negative anniversary into something positive.

gugge1 said...

Congratulations - 10 years is amazing - we had a 2 year celebration last year with ice cream sundaes with the people we were vacationing with. They didn't really get how wonderful the day was for me. Just to know that my husband has made it two years without another stroke is great news. He worked so hard in therapy to get back to where he can drive both the car & the boat. Now we just have to find things for him to do to stay busy. Thank you for your blog - reading it always helps to know that we aren't alone in this crazy aphasia world. Contratulations!

parlance said...

First of all, congratulations to you both!

Secondly thank you once again for your posts. This one, in particular, is a reminder to me to be thankful for all that I have in life and not to worry about cakes that are too sweet, in other words, the things that don't matter.

Anonymous said...

Always nice to come on here and find a blog I have not read Jean.

Good that Done got to ten years post stroke. ray is at eleven years plus and not travelling well right now.


BookingAlong said...

I had no idea your blog was up and running again. Always a pleasure to stop by here. What a great idea to have a 10th stroke anniversary party!