In Kelly and Brad Marsh’s new book, Love Stroke, Kelly tells a moving story about leaving a much-loved job once she realizes she will not be able to do the work any time soon. Kelly outlines her experience from realization to retirement.

We’re talking today about work and aphasia in this latest installment of our online book club.

on the job

Work as Motivation

Kelly admits it took time to see that she wouldn’t be returning to her job in communications. She used returning to work as a motivation for getting better. On page 128, she explained her mindset:

At the beginning of November 2009, just more than two months after my stroke, I thought, I need to do all this therapy so I can go back to work. I need to really focus on this, and in a month, I’ll be fine.

A few months after that, she realized it was time to pack up her desk. Having her job lingering in the background was giving her more anxiety than comfort.

Saying Goodbye to a Career

While packing up her office was hard, she immediately felt relief. On page 129 she writes,

Almost immediately, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. The decision was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make, but the feeling of relief that washed over me once I said it out loud proved to me that it was the right choice.

Of course that relief was mixed with fears over finances and sadness about co-workers left behind. But she knew the way to one day have another job was to commit herself fully to therapy rather than worrying about accomplishing everything at once.

Her Own Timeline

She also expressed her gratitude toward her workplace, which clearly cares about its employees. They were willing to hold her job longer, a rare gesture experienced by those with aphasia. Kelly was able to end things on her terms rather than having the ending foisted upon her by the employer. She admits on page 130:

I will be forever grateful that not a single one of them, including Cathy, told me that hard truth during those early months of struggle. I guess they could see how important it was for me to believe that I would make it back to the office.

Wrapping Up Job Thoughts

Many people will not have the same experience as Kelly. They will not have an understanding supervisor who holds their job or caring co-workers that reach out through recovery. We’d like to hear your experience with work after aphasia.

Image: Dusk Photography via Flickr via Creative Commons license