How Coming Close to Death Changed These Moms


Stacie J. & her girls/ Sheryl Roberts and her son
By Erickka Sy Savané

Written a few years back, this article about two moms who were forced to pay more attention to their mental health is just what the doctor ordered for Mental Health Month! Please read and take a moment to reflect on whether you're taking care of yourself as you should.

Sheryl Roberts was driving home late one evening when she fell asleep at the wheel. No she wasn’t drunk. But she was tired. So tired, in fact, that she was supposed to be on vacation. The first one in years. But she postponed it because when you’re a commercial actress and you book a mega job, you take it. Especially, when you need the money. So despite the fact that she crashed into a parked car and had a huge laceration on her forehead, she refused to go to the hospital.

“All I could think about was my job, and I still went the next morning even though my head was the size of Shrek,” says Sheryl.

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Sheryl post accident via her IG 

They obviously replaced her. It was then that she went to the hospital and discovered that she had six herniated disks in the back and neck and a small fracture in the neck. It was the cut on her forehead, however, that caused her the most anxiety because what would happen to her modeling career if she was left with a scar? “It was very traumatic,” she says.
“The first two weeks I cried every day because I was always finding something else wrong with me. But after that, I had an epiphany.”
More on that later…

Stacie’s
headaches began last July and remained almost two weeks. She thought they were no big deal until she collapsed to the floor and had to be rushed to the hospital by a friend. Turns out, she had a ruptured brain aneurysm that left her unconscious for days. She also suffered two strokes. “People usually die straight from this or end up in a nursing home,” she says. And while things could have been a lot worse, life has changed in many ways. Once a very athletic person who worked out regularly, she can’t run anymore. Her left eye, which was shut for three months after the accident, is now open, but she must wear glasses. She’s often dizzy and sometimes struggles to remember things. “The other day, I couldn’t remember something from my childhood. The memory was just gone.” She also can’t drive and needs help taking care of her two kids.

But if you think Stacie is spending her time feeling sorry for herself, think again. Like Sheryl, she’s got other things on her mind.

For Sheryl, the accident, and coming close to death, made her realize that she needed to deal with her life. That meant, getting out of a toxic relationship, which became most apparent when the guy wasn’t there for her following the accident. It also meant getting rid of friends too.
“There was no one I could really count on. I mean those who are there when you feel like you can’t deal with your life.”
She was also able to put her career into perspective. “I used to stress over the fact that I’m getting older (Sheryl is 47 years old) and will have to change careers. Now I realize I can only do what I can do. No more no less. I take my time with things. I’m working on my clothing business IndigostyleVintage.” It also changed her relationship with her 17-year-old son.
“Before I used to feel like I had to make things happen. Be mother and father. Now I’m more honest. As parents we try so much to protect them but sometimes they have to see you as human. He knows that I’ve been very successful in my career, but now I’m starting over. I’m figuring it out.”
For Stacie, the accident has shown her that she’s not in control. “I’m more patient now because I know there’s a higher being driving my life.” She also feels a renewed sense of purpose.
“I want to start a non-for profit to bring awareness to brain aneurysms. Millions of people have them, but don’t know it because they don’t all rupture. Mine had been growing for 20 years....I also value every second I have with my daughters. Even more now. I want them to be happy.”
Sheryl also adds that she learned to put herself first and listen to her gut. “When I’m tired, I sleep, when I am not in the mood I say no, and when it doesn’t feel right I make adjustments.” She says it makes her life more full and keeps her really engaged versus getting in a rut and just going through the motions.

Have you ever had a devastating experience change your life for the better?
Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on TwitterInstagram or ErickkaSySavane.com

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