My Brilliant Mother Lost Her Voice

October 14, 2013 was the last day I had a clear conversation with my mother, Lillian. The next day, my beautiful, competent, intelligent, still working as a bookkeeper-financial advisor, 80-yr old mom, already in the hospital for a mild infection, had a massive stroke in her left temporal / parietal portion of her brain. Her recovery has been amazing! But the language still has not returned. She was left severely aphasic. At first, we believed she was equally deficient on her comprehension, but we see signs that her comprehension has improved vastly compared to her speech. At 80 years old, she lived all of her life with blood pressure and hypertension issues, so medically speaking, we needed to stabilize her post-stroke in order to work on the rest of her recovery. Doctors and neurologists were grim: you might have 3, maybe 6 months to get her speech back, after that…recovery diminishes. I disagree! Because of the intelligence of my mother and her mental activity up until the stroke, I believe she has personally pushed through her own recovery and is determined to keep it going. We see improvements all the time, even if they are minor. A huge numbers person (she could do mental math gymnastics!), she is working on her number recovery by playing solitaire in her free time. She won’t give up – which is both inspirational and touching. We want her back to “normal” – but honestly, we have all adjusted to the new normal that aphasia brings with it. We intend to keep working with her and helping her recover, but in the meantime, Lillian is aphasic, our mother, wife, grandmother, aunt and friend. And we love her!