10 Mar 2024

Making the Most of Life Before and After Stroke

We never know what life will throw up next.  

Being a fulltime caregiver for a partner or parent with cognitive impairment shifts your perspective in profound ways. 

Three years ago, my partner’s stroke led to loss of short-term memory, peripheral vision loss and a decline in problem-solving functions.  

After the initial grieving process and a period of recovery, we have come to terms with what has been lost and adjusted to our changed circumstances.

We have found ways to appreciate what we have and to make the most of our situation.  Living in a beautiful part of New Zealand at the top of the South Island with ease of access to nearby national parks certainly helps. 

Steve displays extraordinary fortitude and resilience as he navigates a different world. Each day he adopts a positive attitude and accepts his loss of independence as he no longer drives. 

Spending time in nature, and daily habits that take care of mind and body, help me stay calm and centred. I could do better with reaching out to others for support, and taking a break to recharge from time to time.

Over the past year we have been working on a joint book project to showcase Steve’s beautiful landscape and nature photography, paired with my poems reflecting our shared adventures around New Zealand and the Pacific.

I am grateful that we made the most of our opportunities to explore this beautiful part of the world before Steve's stroke, and we continue to do so at a slower pace closer to home.

Next month A Poetic Journey through Aotearoa will be released on Amazon. 


Mary Somervell

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