Recovery is Like a Burning Rose

By Tanya Barnett

Orange header with text "Recovery is like a burning rose by Tanya Barnett"

I have to be totally honest with you…These last few months after my stroke have been so strange for me. I feel like a burning rose. Some days I wake up with a sense of joy and anticipation of what the day has in store for me. But some other days, I have no clue what I am doing or where I am going. There are times when my body cooperates with me fully and there are times it doesn’t. It is unsettling, to say the least. At times, I feel like myself and then, out of nowhere, my brain will show me that I am not.

I’ve realized that I have no control over what is happening and, like an alien, every experience is seen with a new set of eyes or senses. Those senses can be beautiful yet painful at the same time. It makes me cry when I realize I am repeating myself for the third time because I don’t recall saying the same thing twice before.

Some food doesn’t taste the same, music doesn’t sound the same and some things I liked, I don’t like anymore. It’s scary, actually. I want to see each day as a new gift, but I am afraid that I may face a new part of me that stutters and forgets things. That freaks me out. The exhaustion is the worst, though. It comes out from lurking in the shadows and tackles me without warning. His friend, Mr. Blackout, is just as ruthless.

I’ve decided I will take a night and sleep at a hotel undisturbed, just me and fluffy pillows and room service. I need the brain break and the REST. I need a break from stimulation. I need my brain to heal, so the fire can leave my brain and the rose can bloom once again.

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About the Author

Tanya Barnett is a disabled veteran, veteran advocate, anti-racist womanist and an adjunct professor. She is a 2018 N.A.A.C.P. Hall of Famer. She is also a two-time triathlete and marathoner, a historical fiction lover and backyard gardener, a wife, mom and an energetic Glam-ma.

You can follow Tanya Barnett on Twitter at @mstanyabarnett1.

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