Friday, April 15, 2005

What Happens When Words Fail

to come to a writer's fingertips?

There's a sense of panic, of course. I mean, this is what I DO, after all. It's not that the words aren't there. It's just that the words are suddenly, so incredibly...insignificant. I cannot do them justice. I cannot, for once, capture the moment, and it leaves me staring at a screen, attempting to convey these thoughts that are running amok in my head.

No, it's not the drugs talking this time. And no, I'm not exceedingly tired. And believe it or not, I'm not even rambling.

I have a dear, DEAR friend named Dyniece. I originally met her on mIRC several years ago. She was married to this incredible jerk. She deserved so much better. Although she was in Oklahoma at the time, I was in Maryland. She left the Jerk (YAY!) and moved back to Canada (Not a yay.) Dyniece is deaf.

She used to hear as a child, but then a high fever and a wicked disease stripped her of that sense that we all take for granted. For 25 years, she has lived in silence. I can't begin to imagine what it had to be like for her as a child. I have a 10 year old daughter, and I try to think of what would happen, how could Carly feel, if she got really sick and suddenly, she can see my mouth moving but there are no words making it to her ears. Turning on her radio and hearing nothing. Checking the television and being greeted by silence. I wonder how Carly would deal with it, but more would *I* deal with it as her mother. My heart would break a billion times over, I'm sure. So you learn to sign and you learn to read lips, but that never-ending silence. I can't wrap my brain around that idea. My life is chaos, screaming kids and loud tvs and CDs and radios and blaring music in the van. There is NEVER silence here. What is it to walk around with nothing, just...nothing...being heard?

Because Dy went deaf as a child, rather than being born deaf, she was one of the few adults eligible for a Cocklear Implant. Very few adults are eligible because it's like taking one of us and setting us down in the middle of China without a clue. Those born deaf don't know what a hard C sound is. They don't know a cough from a word. It's like totally relearning a language, and just like with a 2nd language, it's best learned young. Dy wore a hearing aid for years, and apparently it stimulated just enough to keep things active in there.

Two months ago, she had the surgery for the implant. Tuesday, she had the implant turned on. This morning, my husband woke me up as usual. (I am wicked bad to wake up.) He said: Brenda, Neecy (that's what I call her) posted.

Well, now I'm awake. We've been all waiting anxiously to see how it went. I wanted to be there SO MUCH to see her face. And of course, we all had that secret fear: What would we do, what would we say, if it didn't work at all?

He said: She has a post called "There is no sunshine today". And like that, I was out of bed, my heart broken as I raced to the computer, saying "Noooooo, no no no" over and over again. He said: "She hears everything."

And I stopped and I stared and I cried. And I read her post and I'm crying still.

Neecy heard. She heard her mother gasp. In just a few days, she's hearing more than most hear after five years of getting the implant. Can you imagine? I can't. I simply...can't. They tested and tested. She can hear words clearly. She can hear the radio, the words over a telephone. (Those are the hardest for implant patients because the frequencies are different.) She went outside and heard birds. Those gawdawful things that annoy the piss out of me every morning right outside my window while I'm sleeping. She found the joy in that. I think, "What if I couldn't hear those birds?" Well, of course, I can't even comprehend the idea because I've always heard. She found the beauty of it where I had lost it. She picked up a bag of chips and giggled at the crinkling sound of the package.

Can you IMAGINE?! A bag of chips. An insignificant bag of CHIPS made my dear friend's face light up. I have to record Cooper (my 3 yr old) during a case of those deep baby giggles. I want her to hear that. It's my personal favorite sound in all the world, and I want her to know what it's like.

I want her to own a CD and build a collection. I want her to know what songs sound like again. She was in the doctor's office and they played "I'll Fly Away" and "Amazing Grace" and she said she cried like a baby. The last time I heard "I'll Fly Away" was at my grandmother's funeral. And here are the tears again, but the sorrow has been replaced with a joy that has no edges, a joy so all encompassing for my friend that I cannot honor her experience with my talent. I cannot get ahold of this idea strongly enough to make this post worthy of what it is.

It's a tribute to Dyniece. longer defined as one of the deaf. Neecy who can hear. Neecy who gets giggles over a bag of chips and Neecy who reminded me that there is joy in the chirps of the birds. That traffic and honking and shouting are a JOY and should be cherished.

She says she has a hard time with accents. Guess what? I don't care. This Texas voice is going to call her, and I'm going to be crying and telling her how much I love her, Texas accent not withstanding. She can hear, CAN HEAR, how I say nekkid instead of naked. She can hear my kids hollaring in the background. She can hear me say "Thank you, Neecy, for sharing this incredible moment in your life with me." For once she won't have to read my words, she will hear them. And I pray I do not fail at that moment. I hope I can convey to her what I'm feeling, and not just blubber like a baby in her ear. But I know her well, and I know that if I do end up snottin' and sobbin' at her, she will laugh, simply happy to hear me cry.


Paul McDonald said...

Hey, Cool blog site! Keep it up! That's a lot of writing, a lot of thoughts.

Dadio said...

I have a friend who is considering the implant. I'll send hime to your blog so he can read your post. Very well put, beautifully written. Enjoyed reading it.

*Becky* said...

It's beyond amazing, isn't it? I've been getting chills all day thinking about how she would love to hear what I hear. Kids running outside, the click of shoes in the hall, the tapping of keys on my keyboard.

Nic said...

Bren, another homer hit out of the park. Day-am doll, make me get all weepy and stuff over here. Maybe you could be one of those multi-genre writers, RS, RC and those feel good romances that make you just glad to be alive and giveyou warm fuzzies. I am so happy to read that your friend has had miraculous success with the implant. Still hoping you'll be there on the 23rd. :)

d_evans said...

Brenda, you brought tears to my eyes. This whole experience with Bella is just simply amazing. I wish I was on that phone with you when you call her up!

eliana said...

Yes, My dear Brenda,...we do take so much for granted in this life. D is one of the kindest people; so accepting of all, so consoling to others for relatively inconsequential complaints.
It is miracles like this that show us so vividly, if we pay the slightest bit of attention, how God works in our lives. D is an inspiration, an example, and a lesson in courage.

"Courage, it would seem, is nothing more than the power to overcome danger,misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow."
--Dorothy Thompson

Dy said...

Brenda sweetheart - its MY turn to say that words fail me. It means so much that I was able to share this experience with you - when you had seen me to through my share of bad ones in the past. You were always there, a rock, somebody I could lean on, laugh with, and cry with. When I moved back to BC and we lost touch, I often found myself thinking of you.

I have on top of my computer desk a candle holder that you gave me back when I lived in Oklahoma with one of those care packages you sent. Even when we were not in touch, I would hold it and remember the friendship we had. When Andrea found me on mIRC again and brought me back into the fold and you back into my life, I cried tears of happiness.

Now too, I cry - not sad tears - but happy ones. I'm so thankful, each and every day, for the friends and family who have enriched my life and given me a sense of purpose. It means so much to be able to share my experiences with you, to know that one who has touched my life as you have, is also touched in return.

Life throws us curve balls, and sometimes you'd swear those suckers swirled and dived too, but we learn to hit them, we learn that with the support of those we love, we can do anything.

You never gave up on me, never stopped believing that one day I'd hear again.And now here I am, each day another new sound, another new reason to be amazed, and another story to share with those whom I love.

I can't wait for that phone call!!!