Part Two: Meet Gabriel

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Part Two

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I was twelve years old when I watched my mother have a stroke. We were sitting in the kitchen, attempting to bake a cake. We had ingredients spread out all over the counters, flour in our hair, and a poor semblance of batter in our mixing bowl.

Mom and I were terrible cooks.

But that never stopped us from trying. We burnt everything from toast to Crème Brule. And we had the best times doing it. My father left us when I was seven and ever since my mom and I had tossed out the strict rules and evoked the lifestyle of living in the moment. We had fun with everything we did. Even the simplest of tasks were turned into an adventure. Everything was fun, those times are forever ingrained in my mind.

This time wasn't as fun, but it is way more memorable.

I remember clearly, it was a Tuesday. It was fall. The late afternoon sun had caused the sky to turn pink. I remember how pretty it looked illuminating the red leaves of the trees around our house. I had just thrown a handful of sugar into the air and let it rain down on us. We laughed and pretended it was snow.

We were dancing underneath the falling sugar when my mom suddenly stopped.

Her eyes glazed over.

I called her name, stopping as well.

She looked at me but she didn't speak.

I watched as my mother lost control of her muscles and fell to the ground. Her face went slack and her legs gave out. I watched as she clutched at the kitchen island with both hands, trying to support her weight on her palms.

I had watched enough TV shows about doctors throughout my life that I knew what was going on, but I couldn't help her.

I couldn't move.

The paramedics said I was in shock. They had come when my neighbor walked in and saw my mom on the floor and me just standing above her staring and called the police.

They loaded my mom into the ambulance and let me ride in the back with her. I clutched her slack hand in my small clammy one.

The doctors were throwing around words that I didn't understand and attempting to jab needles into her arms.

The ambulance arrived at the hospital. My mom was unloaded and I was separated from her.

They told me when she was stable that her brain had a clot and it stopped connecting to the rest of her body. Her brain was attacking itself for an hour before the doctors got her stable.

They said because it took so long to get her brain to reconnect to her body, my mother was going to have slight brain damage.

For a long time I thought it was my fault. If I hadn't gone into shock, I would've been able to call the police. If I was aware, I would have been able to save my mom from brain damage.

I spent the next two years of my life watching my mother go through therapy. Every day she would re learn how to do basic tasks. She learned how to grip a pencil, braid her hair, brush her teeth.

Every day I would watch her therapist Emma working with her. And every day I would feel guilty for not being able to save her from this pain.

It was a Wednesday when my mom walked. Emma had worked with her for two weeks. Until one morning my mom walked into my room and proceeded to wake me up.

I was awestruck, a week before she was in a wheel chair.

From that moment on I decided that I wanted to be like Emma. I wanted to give people their lives back after they suffer trauma.

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