“Je pense donc je suis,” Mama writes
after her 1st stroke robs her of speech & English.
“What the hell?” mutters Dad as we stand gap-jawed around the hospital bed.
She recovers, cuts her waist length milkmaid braid,
& breaks out of the house.
She starts a fabulously successful stroke group,
and evolves back to the Real Miriam (according to Aunt Rosemary)
before 7 Kids & Sumner (Dad).
I wasn’t as scared of this Miriam.




7 thoughts on “Mama has a stroke loses her English (and speech and right side for a while), scribbles some Descartes in French, and begins a new path. A 420 character 9-line memoir bit

    1. More amazing is this:
      Dear sister Susie gently reminds me that what Mama said was “Je pense donc je suis.” (I think therefore I am). I misremembered the verb and had, in that lagoon of old stories, the Latin ergo, rather than the French verb, donc. But this has led me on another search. How do I know about donc? Then like that pentimento syndrome in painting where an under painting emerges over time, I realize I’ve a memory of “cogito ergo sum” the Latin version for what’s called hyperbolic doubt. To be continued.


    1. I know. Mama comes out of a stroke coma or faint or whatever it was, can’t move one side of her body, can’t speak, only remembers French (she was a “Romance language major at Radcliffe.), gestures for a pencil and paper and scrawls the most appropriate phrase ever: how could she know she wasn’t dead or this wasn’t all some sort of illusion? Well, the fact that she could think about it was evidence enough. If she could think, she must exist. Wow.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. So – i remember our entrance into the hospital room – mom didn’t know us but she did know the Wyeth print in the wall- Ma’s love of learning was her pathway to recreating a woman called Miriam – as best as she could – good stuff patty


Plz leave a comment here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s