Saturday, April 16, 2005

The perspective of others

This was written in the blog of a dear friend of mine - just after I posted my "There Is No Sunshine Today" letter on a bulletin board I participate in with her. I've known Brenda for 9 years now, and she's an amazing lady. (Her blog - Brenda Bradshaw is in my blog links on the right)

I keep going back to read her entry in her blog because it just is so eloquent. It makes me happy, and it brings a tear to my eyes each time I revisit it. I never dreamed I'd impact the lives of others with my experiences like she describes.


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.

1 comment:

George said...

All this is amazing, or I wouldn't be reading it. But Dy is still deaf. Or defined as deaf. She can hear synthetically, or for short, she can hear in a way different from "hearing people." Which is stupendous, yes the crinkling of a bag of chips, the shuffling of cards, those little things taken for granted.