My Final Message To You.

My Final Message To You.

I thought I needed You
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This is years too late but I finally have found the courage and strength I needed to write my final goodbye to you. So here goes...

It was you. It was always you. No matter who wanted me I ALWAYS wanted you. Wherever you were I wanted to be and for a while you made me feel like I was wanted there too. You knew everything about me and being with you seemed like a complete dream come true. Despite what everyone would say about you to me I still chose you. I loved you so much it actually scared me, I was afraid to put myself out there, but I was so happy I did with you. I was hurt in the past and I just thought if I put myself back out there and allow someone to know me they would hurt me again and in the beginning, with you, it wasn’t like that at all but we went on a downward spiral so fast. You meant the world to me and having you there for me was incredible. I hope you knew that I was here for you too. But I just couldn't do the just friends thing anymore, I understand that you didn't want to hurt me and I thank you for that but in the long-run, it hurt me the fact that you didn’t even give us a chance. You always just thought I’d be some controlling girlfriend who never let you see your friends and we both know that I wouldn’t be like that. I always encourage you to hang out with your friends and when you’re with them I'd say "I’ll talk to you later" just so I don’t bother you when you’re with them. You went from constantly wanting to talk to me and be with me to never really even talking to me. You turned into the person you said you’d never be and you told me you’d always pick me and wherever you go, I would go and that we don’t lie to each other and that you’ll near get tired of me and you’ll always want to talk to me…looking at that I don't even know who you are now. There was just something about you that rocked my world. I don't know what it was and quite frankly I don't think anyone else knew either but there was just something about you. I just wanted all of you, all your imperfections and flaws were so very loved by me. But that's the thing, they were LOVED. It took me years to come to terms with the fact that my love for you is past tense. I could not be more proud of myself for getting over you and all the times you made me feel so insignificant. I am no longer stuck on the thought of you; come to think of it, you no longer cross my mind. So goodbye to you and everything we had or what I thought we had. You are nothing to me now and will stay that way from now on.

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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Losing Him So Young Is A Pain I Still Face

Losing someone who doesn't belong to you is a pain unknown to most.

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It's been seven months since your life was cut tragically short. We hadn't talked in a while but when I found out my heart broke. How could someone who was my childhood friend be dead? I didn't believe it at first, I swore that my then best friend was lying and playing a cruel joke on me, but I looked at your mom's snap and it was true.

When I found out, it was almost midnight. I was studying for my first biology test of the semester and after I found out I tried to continue like nothing had happened, but we all know that didn't work. I tried not to let tears fall, which I failed at. Tears were hitting my notes and I couldn't do anything to stop them. I was away from home and no one around me knew you.

I felt so many things in the next few moments: shock, hurt, sadness, anguish and anger.

I was so mad; how could you be gone? How could God take away someone else I knew? How could he take a son, a dad and a brother away from those who needed him? I didn't understand how.

I called my mom to tell her the news. I think I needed to tell her just to make me believe. I still didn't believe though. I cried a few tears but I didn't let myself do more than that. I needed to be tough. I needed to focus on school and I couldn't let myself hurt. I knew I wouldn't be able to go to your funeral, which in a way would've helped me make things real. It didn't feel real to me for weeks and sometimes it still doesn't.

It took me a while to figure out why I didn't let myself cry, but once I did it made so much sense. I couldn't cry for you because as much as I wanted to, I felt like the pain I was feeling wasn't real. The pain I felt wasn't the same as everyone else. I cared about you, but I couldn't say anything or do anything about it.

You were almost my first kiss in elementary school, you would make me so mad then and in middle school, and even when we saw each other in high school. You would make my blood boil and we could argue over anything. I secretly loved those arguments we always had because it meant your attention was on me. I remember everyone teasing me in elementary and middle school about me liking you because it was so noticeable.

My friends tried to get us together several times and yours helped as well. I think the only person who didn't know how deep my crush was, was you because even my mom knew. She would tell me that one day we'd date and I swore that she was crazy because I didn't like you; all we did was argue!

We were so different and that made me like you more.

In high school, we drifted apart even more as I continued to be a nerd and you were still popular and continued to be so. We still would talk here and there, and I told myself I would tell you how I felt, I finally would but I couldn't. I didn't always crush on you but when I did, I did hard.

We started talking less and less, except when we saw each other. I used to always smile if I saw you when I worked because that meant I could flirt and maybe get your attention, except if you were dating someone then I wouldn't because I'm not like that.

I remember finding out that you were having a baby and being shocked because that meant I was officially out of luck. I told you congrats because what else could I say? When she was born I said how pretty she was and as she grew I could see you in her, and I never let my true feeling be known.

The day I found out you were gone, my heart broke and I still try not to cry.

Your family and friends lost you but I lost you too, even if no one knows. I lost the innocence of a child who swore she was going to get the boy someday. I miss you and I know that your death will always linger in my heart.

I'm so sorry.

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