I now believe in the power of silence. It wasn’t always this way. In the past, I woke to the phone alarm, turned on the radio, listened for the coffee pot and started my day. The days were full of phone calls, talking, television, music, and the general noise of life. This was my world and I was okay with it, most of the time. I had a very busy job, two daughters to raise, a new husband, a house to keep up with, a large extended family, a wonderful group of friends to cook for and spend time with. When I had the opportunity though, I deliberately sought silence and would gladly welcome quiet time.
On April 13th, 2008, my 21 year old daughter, Rachel, suffered a stroke. When the ambulance came and I crawled into the back with this beautiful, brown eyed girl, I was able to block out the sirens, the road noise and realize that this usually talkative girl, was silent. She was not able to talk, she couldn’t. She didn’t need to talk though, her eyes said what she could not, the fear and confusion were palpable.
The next few days in intensive care were a blur, full of tears, fear, and yet , a curious optimism. Surely, this little girl who never sucked her thumb, or pacifier, because having something in her mouth would interfere with her ability to communicate with her family, surely she would be able to talk again. Her silence was scary.
We believed in Rachel though. She had an early diagnosis of Turner’s Syndrome, which necessitated daily injections from the age of 3 through the age of 14. She had always struggled in school, but somehow made it through. She had entered college, worked two jobs, yet never stopped or gave up. Always social, always communicating, always talking – to everyone, always.
After many weeks in the hospital, months in rehabilitation, hours of occupational and speech therapy, Rachel has almost fully recovered. Again, she is a shining star in the eyes of her doctors – a true success story. And no longer is she silent. She isn’t as talkative as she used to be, but that’s okay, she’s silent when she wants to be. And for that I am forever thankful. I embrace the noise of daily life. I welcome the calls from Rachel, from everyone. Because sometimes when I think all I want is a little peace and quiet, a little silence, I realize, that’s not what I want at all. In this I believe
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