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Lions Roar : July 2011
61 SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2011 I T’S BEEN MORE THAN FIVE YEARS since my husband Paul’s stroke, which left him “globally aphasic” (unable to process lan- guage in any form). But thanks to hard work, love, and the brain’s gift for rewiring itself, he has re-loomed vibrant carpets of vocab- ulary and his speaking continues to improve. Last week, he started regularly making puns again, for the first time since his stroke. “Those dollar bills look battered,” he said, watching me assemble change for a foray to the farmers’ market, then added with a smirk: “Bat- tered and fried!” Paul and I no longer worry about his “getting better,” no longer regard aphasia as a process of recovery with stages. We unwrap one day at a time, treating it as a star-spangled gift. He often wakes up too early, finds me and says: “Come and cuddle.” Then I’ll crawl back into bed, enjoying the special radiant warmth of the already-occupied nest, slipping deep be- tween the womb-like folds of the comforter, and we’ll curl tight, linking our breaths. He’ll call me his little scaramouche (a rascal or scamp), and we’ll recall past times together, easy and hard spells, and some of the fun things we’ve done. A Bell With a Crack in It It may not ring as clearly, but it can ring as sweetly. DIANE ACKERMAN on her husband’s stroke and the language of healing. PHOTOBYLIZAMATTHEWS