A Heavy Heart Can Still Sing

I don’t usually talk about personal family matters in my blogging. But I am making an exception in regards to my oldest son, who works in advertising as a Creative Director.

I gave birth to Jason when I was 19, and have always laughingly admitted that I grew up along with my two sons. Frankly, there wasn’t much use in telling either of them, from a very young age, what to do or think. They both had confidence in their own abilities to figure out what they wanted and the best way of getting it. Our parenting style was the sharing of ideas, skills, and strategies. If either son felt drawn to something that my husband and I had doubts about, Jason or Michael’s job was to convince us why such actions were called for. Both sons were, and are, excellent negotiators.

Fast track 40 years later to Jason’s full and creative life. He is a fascinating man: brimming with energy, ideas, humor and wicked ability in computer games. He is also dedicated to his wife and children, and it has been a real joy to see him embrace that role. He and his wife, Dayna, have built a life for themselves with the realization that not only are challenges to be expected, but they are what instigate growth and open up new possibilities.

This week, they were hit with a very sizeable challenge.

On Wednesday, November 21, Jason had a stroke.

Thank God he had it in full public view, among caring colleagues, rather than alone somewhere or on a plane or in his sleep. He was 10 minutes from St. Michael’s hospital, which offers highly specialized neurological and trauma services. He was soon joined by friends and family who are more than willing to do whatever it takes to ease his way on the road to recovery.

But the fact remains: he had a stroke, and at quite a tender age.

So what is a parent to do? Whatever we can: pick up the kids from school, sit in the room and watch him sleep, arrange pillows, pull up blankets, buy Gatorade.

I came home from the hospital and watched an interview and slideshow, followed a few links on his website. All to remind myself of the way he thinks and how very much I always enjoy being privy to his creative thought stream whenever we get together. This time, I needed Kleenex.

But as impressed as I have been with Jason’s accomplishments, I have never been more moved by his actions than this week. There have been no curses, bitter words, or wailing self pity. None. I have only heard him express gratitude for the timing of the stroke, the quality of his care, the support of people around him. He has already vowed to jump into rehabilitation, with characteristic determination, to regain his losses.

I have seen Jason pick himself up from serious tests in life before, and once again his positive, courageous approach inspires me.

My heart feels heavy with the weight of this “hit” to my son, but it is also singing because of the consummate quality of his response.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
…….~ Viktor E. Frankl

FYI: How to recognize a stroke



About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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21 Responses to A Heavy Heart Can Still Sing

  1. Tammy Vitale says:

    Carol – my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. Hard to know exactly what to say, but wishing the best for all of you and joining in your gratitude. And you made me laugh because my kids are magnificent negotiators for the very same reason. Hugs to you!

  2. Oh Carol. As synchronicity seems to work for me, I’d spent a long morning reading, clearing, meditating to wrench my creative self from the malaise I seem to have been mired in. And then, with a last email-check before laying out the graphite and chamois, I find your post.
    Of course my first response bursts from the mother I am, and I instinctively cascade thoughts of comfort to you over the ether.
    But then I spent time on Jason’s links, knowing I’ll have to go back to let all of his brilliance seep in. It was the video that got me most. There are so many out there who have wonderful plots and plans to help others find a creative path. So often though, there is an almost imperceptible gap behind the eyes–a calculation in the speech that takes me from what is being said–to a wonder on my part about the intent.
    What I see in your son’s eyes, and hear in his words is that at the core–he believes. He believes in what he is saying. And–he’s talking about creativity. What a gift.
    Please know I’m sending all the good thoughts, strong prayers, and solid beliefs I possess to you, your son and everyone touched by this. If I believe in anything, I believe in the power of love.

    • CarolWiebe says:

      This just warmed my heart, Julianne. Yes, love truly is the answer. Its so easy to just go along in your routine and not notice that powerful fact. But when something happens, it is the love that surges to the forefront and reminds you what is most important in life.

      I was experiencing a malaise myself, and this “crisis” jolted me back into full creative mode. I view creativity as an expression of love: love of life, of beauty, of others. Of course, I don’t have a lot of time to create art right now, but my heart is overflowing and my creative mind jumps on for the ride.

  3. Sherri B. says:

    Carol, I’m so sorry to hear of Jason’s stroke…he sounds like an amazing human being who will overcome this like any other challenge he has faced. And he’s very fortunate to have such a loving family surrounding him for support…I’m sending you all positive thoughts and prayers.

  4. Lois Goertzen says:

    Victor Frankel has such a powerful message for us, a message that is so very hopeful and frees us from being stuck in anger and resentment. That was such a wonderful way to end your blog Carol. Thanks for writing it. We are thinking of you and holding you and yours close in our hearts.

  5. diane says:

    this is startling news but…..sounds like he was in the right place…and was in the hands of those who could help. A Lucky man….
    I hope that he will heal well and that all will go smoothly!!! I send you, Ted… your lovely son and his family healing prayers and best wishes…

    You are an amazing person, mom and artist….and I know your children….are beautiful, too!
    Take care…
    thinking of you with love

  6. zappha says:

    This is very sad news Carol. I will pray for his speedy recovery and I will also pray for strength for your entire family as you journey through this challenging time.

    • CarolWiebe says:

      Thank you, Zappha. The greatest pitfall at this point is to think too hard along a certain path. “What if” may be a good approach to art, but not to something like this. I am so grateful I have art to do, even if it is just in my head.

  7. mary buchanan says:

    My heart is aching for all of you- this is a very hard time- I know. I, too, have seen the challenges strokes bring to individuals and their families, and I am so glad that he was with friends and got care so quickly. You all will be in my thoughts and prayers

  8. Joy says:

    Hello Carol, wishing you strength and peace as you and your family deal with this new challenge. We are thinking of you and sending warm and positive thoughts, from your friends at KAS Cambridge.

  9. Liza Jantzi says:

    Dear Carol,
    I am sorry that I missed you when you visited, but isn’t it wonderful/strange how life is connected. You have written such a lovely tribute to your son, and it drew together my recent experiences of family crisis and how we respond, how really love for each other is what remains above all. May you all continue to sing and soar on this bumpy journey. Sending hugs and love.

  10. arlee says:

    Carol, i do hope Jason has improved and is well back on a strong road.

  11. Carol Wiebe says:

    Thank you, Arlee. He is. A few issues have to be resolved, but we all have some, in various degrees, don’t we? I am simply thankful he is alive. He’s a great person to have in anyone’s life–super creative and a real advocate for those he knows.

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