Most people do not know that their last fluid conversation is going to be their last fluid conversation. Aphasia hits and the words halt. But as Lauren Marks faces down more brain surgery after recovering somewhat from aphasia, she wonders if a conversation with a friend will be her last; if the aphasia will return after she once again goes under the knife.
Lauren Marks wonders about the weight of last words in her new book, A Stitch of Time.
As Lauren hangs out with her friend Rachel, she’s struck by a thought. If she once again loses the ability to speak, this could be their last conversation. She writes on page 195, that she “couldn’t help but start to imagine the sort of things I’d have to say to her, and to everyone, if I was never going to speak to them again.”
I would tell my brother to take care of our parents and himself. I would tell my parents that I had taken chances, followed whims, that I had loved and been loved, and they should never imagine my life as unlived.
She finds it impossible to choose final words, especially because she knows she will continue living, albeit without the ability to express herself. It is a sobering moment on a sunny day.
Moreover, Lauren’s friend Rachel has a book coming out, and she mentions that Lauren can read it while she’s recovering from surgery. “If I can still read, I said,” she writes on page 195. This dark thought is Lauren’s truth. If she has the surgery and loses her ability to read again, she will be facing down a world without books.
If she knows she may lose the ability to read, which book would she be okay with being the final book?
Most people do not get to make these decisions, and Lauren certainly didn’t get to when she first experienced aphasia. The aneurysm ruptured and her life changed. But this surgery is different because she has time to think about it and prepare. She just got her words back. What if she loses them again?
Is it possible to find the words for a last conversation?
Image: Les Anderson via Unsplash