I am no longer able to string words together fast enough for easy comprehension, and people find it difficult to interpret what I’m saying. Those who don’t know me are completely mystified by my delivery; a few too, wonder at my cognitive ability.
My slothful cadence is also hard on my husband, who has been trying to get me to talk less for over 2 years now. His hearing is no longer peak, and the soft drone of my voice is not on his radar anymore. I drive him nuts when I report on the trivial, as it forces him to stop what he’s doing, so he can focus all his attention on what I’m saying. He gets frustrated when he has to work so hard to hear content that has no importance.
In the early days, when I was told that I might lose the ability to speak, I thought that speech technology was the solution; a tool for saving me from the silence. I even looked forward to mastering the software. But now that my voice is fading, I find that I have absolutely no interest in cleverly jamming away on a keyboard, while a speaker spouts robotic syllables at my listener. Anyway, that technology was developed for expressing needs, wants; not for sharing of self, heart, truth, or grief.
Is silence really “golden?” I think (or more likely romanticize) about religious orders that vow to a lifetime of silence, trading-in words for illumination. I have fantasized over re-inventing myself into the-woman-of-few-words, enigmatic and interesting. Oh . . . and disabled. Forgot that part.
Would the artful cultivation of body language be enough to satisfy the requirements of social communion? Could I unfold the conversation with only a look? Is silence adequate enough to comfort, cajole, or convey dissent? Can it render further discourse?
Perhaps I’m missing the point entirely, and that this is Real Opportunity – disguised as loss – to unearth that deeper portion of myself, beyond words. Or do I merely romanticize?