“I’m the cool mom, but I’m also a disciplinarian,” says Kim Jones, mother of two daughters — a college senior and a high school freshman. “My oldest daughter says that I’m a strong, God-fearing prayer warrior, and a true definition of resilience.”
Jones attributes her recovery from the stroke she suffered in February 2014 to her faith and positive attitude. “[After it happened,] all I could think about was surviving, being positive, and smiling daily,” she said. “In rehab, I would play my gospel music every day, and the therapist would come in and visit just to hear it.”
Jones, a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., looks at her stroke as both a blessing and a curse. “Of course, you never want to have it happen, but after it does, you know what to look for and you can save somebody’s life.” And Jones has saved lives — her mother’s and a girlfriend’s. “I called my mother [one day] and she said she didn’t feel well, and her speech was slurred. Same with my girlfriend, she had symptoms for three days. She was dizzy and was having headaches and tingling in her tongue. I said, ‘You need to get to the hospital, now.’” Both women had suffered strokes, it turns out, but Jones’s quick thinking allowed them to get the life-saving medical attention they needed, as she knew timing was everything.
It’s been nearly seven years since Jones had her own symptoms that she didn’t realize were symptoms at first. “The night before, I had a lot of anxiety and restless sleeping, but I thought it was just that — anxiety. The day of the stroke, I woke up and went to take a shower and lost my balance and had to have my husband come in and help me. As I was talking to him, my speech was slurred, but I was still in denial. We got the kids to school, then we drove to the hospital. The nurse said I was lucky to be alive, due to the elevation of my blood pressure.”
After two days in the hospital and 30 days in rehab, with speech, occupational and physical therapy three times a day, Jones says she pushed herself, doing as she was directed by the therapist, because she wanted independence again. Encouragement and support from others also helped in her recovery. “I was in rehab with another patient who’d had a stroke, Miss Margarette. Every day when I greeted her, she’d respond with ‘Amen!’ She lit a fire in me — because even though I was smiling, I still needed that encouragement. I thought, if she can be that happy, I can be a light, too.”
Being a light for others is what keeps Jones, who has a passion for community service, going. “Being able to stay positive during adversity has taken me far,” she says. “I have a heart for encouraging folks and letting them know there is hope in difficult times.” When asked what she hopes to do once the world opens back up safely, she says, “My calling is to be a motivational speaker. I want to work towards that.”