A Song for My Father
A beautiful tribute from a son to his stroke survivor dad.
Ron & his father
I am a Hip-Hop musician and artist, so when I have a story to tell, my first impulse is to write a song. My song “Waiting for the Day” is a tribute to my father, Ronald Stephenson, Sr. It’s built around sharing our family’s experience with almost losing him during his stroke. It expresses my love for my dad, but I also hope it raises awareness about the impact strokes can have on an entire family. In the next few paragraphs, I will share the background behind the song. (See video below)
In January 2001, I received a phone call from a family friend that changed my life. The family friend told me my dad, who was home alone, called him because he had lost feeling on his left side and fallen. The friend had called 9-1-1.
I left work and headed to my dad’s house, speeding the whole way. After calling 9-1-1 on my mobile, and confirming an ambulance was on its way, I called my dad. He answered the phone, but he was so distraught he didn’t recognize me. I was terrified.
The ambulance arrived before I did, and my dad crawled down the stairs to open the door for the emergency personnel who took him to the hospital.
I’m anxious, but patiently waiting for the day When I can truly say That everything is alright The dark turns to light
— Lyrics from Waiting for the Day
At the hospital, my mother and I were told that my dad had suffered an extremely severe stroke. Although he was 50 at the time, the doctors said the stroke was of a degree more likely to be suffered by an 80 year old. Two days after the stroke, the doctors advised my mother and me not to visit him in ICU. They said that the brain swelling and damage was so bad that he was not going to make it, and that we wouldn’t want to see him in the unconscious state he was in. His death seemed imminent.
Surrounded by friends and family, my mom and I waited for the phone call. Every time the phone rang, we expected the end. If I slept, I would hear phones ringing in my sleep. Thankfully, the phone call we were expecting never came. My dad eventually woke up, and thanks in no small part to my mother’s unbelievable sacrifice and support, he is still living as I write this, nearly 13 years later. Still, as other stroke families know, the effects of a stroke are long-lasting and life-altering.
Ever intelligent and confident, my dad had worked his way up to executive positions at prominent companies and later operated a successful small business. He was my childhood playmate, and he is still my model for manhood and strength. These days, along with his investment advice, he encourages me to exercise and maintain a healthy diet. I am thankful he is still with me to see me publicly use my music and this article to say how proud I am of him.
R.S. (Ronald Stephenson Jr.)