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Published May 12, 2012, 11:30 PM

Stroke teaches family to value every day

MOORHEAD – Diane Murr and Sue Sip talk wistfully of their childhood family vacations, their mother’s flower gardens, and the value of having her home with them after school.

By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

MOORHEAD – Diane Murr and Sue Sip talk wistfully of their childhood family vacations, their mother’s flower gardens, and the value of having her home with them after school.

After their mother, Sally Horpedahl, had two strokes in 2002 and lost her ability to carry on conversations, they learned a painful lesson about never taking anything for granted.

“When one day your mom is able to be out there keeping up her beautiful yard and doing everything that she’s done her whole life and then all of a sudden later that day, she’s not, it really brings it home not to ever take anything for granted because you don’t know,” said Murr, of Wahpeton, N.D. “We’re just so thankful Mom is still here.”

Murr nominated her mom as a Beautiful Woman of Mother’s Day because even though Horpedahl’s life changed dramatically after her stroke, her loving attitude and beautiful smile are still very apparent, Murr said.

“She’s the best mom in the whole world,” Murr said, tearing up as she talked about the clothing and blankets Horpedahl used to sew, crochet and knit.

Horpedahl’s daughters also value the time she spent with them as children.

“We’d come home from school every day and she was always there,” Sipp said.

Murr said she considered herself one of the luckiest kids in school as a child because Horpedahl was a stay-at-home mom.

Tears flowed from both Murr’s and her mother’s eyes when she talked about the yard and flowers her mother tended on the farm where they used to live northeast of Dilworth.

Since her strokes, Horpedahl only has the use of her left arm. She is still able to take care of herself, but housework and cooking are difficult, Murr said.

She can say a few words at a time, including ‘I love you,’ but she mostly communicates through writing, though even that isn’t easy.

Her hand shook and she had to concentrate as she wrote that she’s very happy her children consider her to be a wonderful mom.

“She knows what she wants to say,” Murr said. “But once you’ve had a stroke, the part of your brain that tells your mouth how to say the words, that’s the part that’s affected.”

Horpedahl and her husband, Harold, communicate without talking, Murr said.

The couple moved from their farm to a home in north Moorhead in 2004. Though Sally Horpedahl no longer has a flower garden nearly the size of a football field, her large picture window looks out on a beautiful flowering apple tree and several bird feeders.

The Horpedahls have five children (two sons and three daughters) and eight grandchildren.

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