What Changed Me

January 17, 2011
I wish my family was never shaken to its very core. But it was. However, underneath that immense disguise was a blessing.

Last year, the day after Christmas, my parents trudged into my room, tears sliding down their faces, saying, “Tressa, we need to talk to you.” That was when I learned my aunt Terri had a stroke.She was at her son’s wrestling match walking with my uncle Wade. One minute she was standing next to him, and the next she was gone. When he spun around,she was lying on the ground, as if she was asleep. Aunt Terri was rushed to the nearest hospital where they put her in a helicopter and shipped her off to the University of Wisconsin Hospital. The doctors had to perform surgery on her right away. They took out part of her skull so the swelling in her brain could go down; she wasn’t supposed to make it through the night.

Even though my Aunt Terri can’t budge her right arm, has limited mobility in her right leg, and can only say a few words, she is alive. Going through a traumatic experience has changed me.Now, I am closer to my family and I am a happier person. I’ve learned not to take them for granted and to be thankful my family and I are healthy. Seeing my aunt having trouble doing things that come easily to most people like talkingand walkingmakes me sad. I’m grateful no one else in my family has to struggle like she does.
When my aunt was in the hospital, I spent a lot of time at my uncle’s house with my cousins. We didn’t talk about their mom. Instead I spent time with them, and made them feel better.Pushing them through the most difficult time of their lives helped me grow. I learned to be positive and make sure the people around me are positive too by reassuring them that Terri will get better and telling them she improves every day. I also had to help around the house because two teenage boys doing housework when their mother isn’t around to tell them to do it is unheard of. I actually started to enjoy things like laundry, dishes, and cleaning because I knew I was being appreciated. I learned about responsibility. Having to deal with my life and my cousins lives was difficult, but I managed.
My aunt’s stroke turned out to be a blessing for me. It gave me a new outlook on life.
Since then I have worked hard at everything that has been put in front of me. I do better in school and help the people around me with whatever they need.If I don’t do my best with everything that is thrown at me, I don’t feel accomplished. I know at any moment something can be taken away. I don’t take life for granted anymore and appreciate the opportunities I have.





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