One of the most difficult times in my life was when my MIL had a major stroke. She lived alone, two hours and two states away from us. On a snowy Friday in February 2008, J received a call from the building manager where his mother lived. The manager told him that his mother had been taken to the hospital and they didn't know what was wrong. A resident of the building had noticed that her door was propped open. Something she did frequently, but it had been propped for too long so they called the manager. They found her on the floor unable to talk and called for an ambulance.
J called me at work from his work. He was upset, but couldn't leave because his boss already had. We decided that we would drive down after work to see his mom. It was long drive in heavy snow, with the cell phone ringing often from family members trying to get updates. When we finally arrived and saw his mom, we found out how bad things really were. She was unable to talk or use her right side, but she was otherwise ok. They were treating her to prevent further strokes.
J spent the following week with his mother and for the next month we traveled every weekend. There were appointments and care to arrange. When it became apparent that she wouldn't be able to go home, we had to make plans to clean out her apartment.
J felt as though he had lost his mom even though she was still "here" and it tore him apart. It took six months before I was able to convince him to get help.
It's been over four years now and it's still rough sometimes. But she's still with us and has a grandson that makes her smile.