The hurriedness of life is not kind to someone with aphasia. People with aphasia have a hard time understanding language and/or finding the right word for what they want to say. Many aphasics are unable to speak at all…although they know exactly what they want to say. Some cannot comprehend language at all and when you talk to them, it is as if you are speaking a foreign language. Many people with aphasia cannot read or write and literally have no way of communicating. Imagine being trapped within your own mind unable to communicate with your family and friends and the world around you.
Life moves fast. We finish one event and are quick to move on to the next. There is always something vying for our time. And amidst the hustle and bustle of life, we’re striving to maintain relationships with our spouse and our kids. In a normal relationship there’s texting throughout the day or the occasional phone call. Even if it’s just to square away the plans for the evening or this kid needs to go here and then this one needs to get this project done. But there’s communicating and it’s fast and onto the next task of the day.
Not so with the life of an aphasic. Communication has to be slowed down. Directions need to be repeated and confirmed that they were understood. And even then, too many orders given at one time gets lost in translation very quickly.
I wish I could say I am always very patient and understanding of Corey’s aphasia and that I am quick to take my time in communicating with him. But that would be less than truthful. Thankfully, Corey is able to talk. He is able to say what he wants to say most of the time. It just takes time. And sometimes it doesn’t make sense. He chooses the wrong word. Or he talks around a word trying to describe it. But most of the time, I know what he’s trying to say.
For Corey, comprehension is his biggest struggle. Again if I take my time and am more descriptive in my words or stop and explain something when I notice I’ve lost him, our conversations have more meaning. In the day to day hustle and bustle of life, that is HARD. It can easily become very surface. It’s easier to avoid conversations knowing they can be somewhat exhausting. It doesn’t take long to see that you’re only talking to each other out of necessity of what needs to be done and not going any deeper than that. It requires you to be intentional in finding time to strengthen your relationship.
That is why I LOVE to travel!! I love when we get away and we’re able to reconnect. With each other. With the kids. We’re able to laugh. Play. Listen. We’re able to slow down in our conversations. Life isn’t so crazy busy and we’re not so rushed to get onto the next “to-do” on our list. I know this is true for so many people in marriage. But I feel like when you throw the element of aphasia in there too, it goes to a whole other level. Because ALL conversation is a struggle. And conversation is what holds us together. In whatever form that may be. And when communication is tough, slowing down is often the key.
We had a great time with our kids in Florida over spring break. We had a great time with each other. I feel more connected to Corey and feel like our marriage is stronger after a long period of slowing down and taking our time in conversations. I’m so grateful we’re able to get away and take time for us and our marriage and our family. It is so important and such a necessity to rekindle our relationship.
July 24, 2011…
I think Sundays are my hardest day of the week. I love going to church and getting filled, but I miss you next to me so much. Just walking into the building, I feel like I’m going to lose it.
Today, Pastor Ron came up to me during praise and worship and asked if I wanted to say anything and give updates. I thanked everyone for all their prayers, support and amazing help. I gave them somewhat of a summary of the miracle that you’re still here. I told them, you weren’t supposed to make it during the life flight, but you did. You weren’t supposed to make it through surgery, but you did. We didn’t know if you would ever talk again, but you are. I encouraged everyone to keep praying.