To my mom, professor Debra Meyerson, PhD, author, mother, wife, daughter, friend, athlete, teacher — and stroke survivor: You’ve been my role model from day one. You taught me so much in my 15 years before your stroke — and even more in almost nine years since.
And watching what you’ve done to publish “Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves after Stroke” is a gift few children have the privilege to receive.
I learned so much just from watching you. I grew up believing that women can have demanding and fulfilling careers, as well as close and loving families. I grew up believing people, especially women, can do work that can make an impact on the world. I watched you succeed in the demanding world of academia, a world largely dominated by men. I watched you do research about gender bias that you were told might be too radical to be published, or might derail your young career if it were.
And all that while I got to enjoy our walks to the bus stop while in grade school, only to learn later how much it pissed you off that other mothers would tell you how cool it was that Dad took that walk with me half the days of the week.
Eight-and-a-half years ago, as I was starting my sophomore year in high school, you had your stroke. You were only 53 and in all ways a model of health.
You were paralyzed on your right side. You couldn’t make a sound or nod your head yes — no communication at all. I know now that after several months, when you were “out of the woods” medically, one of your biggest fears was not being there to support me through my high school years.
I hope and trust you now know how much you gave to me just by living the way you did after the devastation of your stroke.
You continue to be my role model — now more than ever.
“I told no one.” Two years after my mom’s stroke, in the fall of my senior year, I gave a talk to my school about how much I had learned from watching her through those early years of her recovery. I talked about how she had been my model of strength while I was growing up. About how she had always succeeded on her own terms, and did so without asking for help.
I talked about how, …