The worst day of my life. February 9, 1996.
Some of you may be thinking….well, duh, it was the day you had your heart attack ! Ummm no. Maybe you think it is the day I lost a job I worked so hard to get or maybe the time or two A relationship of mine ended and it seemed like my world was tumbling. NO, NO and NO. Here it goes and it’s a story about my mom.
This is a story I think I have shared maybe once or twice. I do not speak often of this.
Many of my friends know that my Mom had a stroke on February 9, 1996. This left her paralyzed and not the same woman who raised this man and two daughters. I was 18, my sisters, 14 and 9 respectively.
I remember this day so vividly even now, 18 years later.
I was in Grade 12. I got up early and as I was leaving for school I noticed my mom was in the bathroom after having a few drinks with her boyfriend and a few friends the night before. Hungover, or so I thought.
I went to school at Diefenbaker High school that day. It was Friday which made it a half day at school. I went about my day as usual, attending classes, seeing friends and being happy old Mark.
The school day finished and I was off to my part time job at a place called Easy Street in Sunridge Mall as an arcade technician and mascot- Ronny the Racoon.
I was maybe 45 minutes into my shift when I got a message to call Foothills Hospital. It was that phone call that turned my world, my families world upside down.
“ Mark you need to come to the Hospital. Your mom has had a Stroke. We have been trying to contact you all morning.”
My family had tried calling my school but missed me by mere minutes and I was then unattainable on the bus to work.
I remember standing there, stunned, not believing what I had just heard. I did not want to believe this really happened to my mom.
I left work immediately. When I arrived at the hospital, many family members and some friends were already there. I was taken to where my mom was, unconscious, lying there.
I could not bring myself to go near her hospital bed that day and for a couple days after. I was scared, in shock. I did not want it to be real.
Would mom live? What the hell happens now ? What was going to happen to my sisters and I ? Those were my immediate thoughts.
It was like a bad dream where I hoped I would awake and mom would be there being her silly self chasing us around for fun.
What made this worse for me, were my last words to my mom the night before when she had a few drinks and asked me to go to the liquor store to buy more alcohol for her and her friends.
Those words…..could have potentially been the last I ever said to her. I am sure she doesn’t remember, but I do….. “ Fuck off, I am not going, you all are too drunk. Seriously, leave me alone.” Since then I always try to leave friends and family with encouraging words at the end of a day, for you never know when you could lose someone you love.
I hated seeing her drunk. I hated in that moment that I was 18 and of age to purchase liquor.
The day of her stroke those words replayed many times in my head.
Nothing I had been through to that point in my young life had ever been so terrible. Nothing I have experienced since has even come close to how that event hit me like a ton of bricks.
My mom did survive. Paralyzed on the left side of her body, mentally and physically changed. Her spirit stayed and she is still my Mom.
She has never quite been the same but she is always mom. She still gives me crap, makes me laugh, calls me incessantly, gives me $20 even when I don’t need it, wishes me the best, tells me she wants me to be happy, encourages me to dream, wishes I would find a good woman and give her more grand kids.
I know she blames herself for a lot in life and worries all the time about her kids. She has a great love for her grand children ( none provided by me lol.) She still gives as much as she can to others because that has always been her nature. She is a big reason why I am always helping others, giving back and trying to be as best of a human as I can.
My mom is not perfect but she is my mom, yes she can be a pain in the ass lol…..BUT, I am thankful she is here still all these years later. My only wish is that she could have experienced things in life that I can only imagine she dreamed of.
Sometimes, I wonder how I can make that happen.
So, in honor of the woman who had a big hand in making me the man I am today. I say thank you to my Mom, Cheryl Suchlandt, I love you and although I am not perfect I will always do my best to be the best son I can.