I MET A WOMAN who had a stroke and lost her ability to speak. She had only one word left, and that word was “love.” I liked to watch her say it. She would roll that word around in her mouth like a raspberry, eyes lit with pleasure, and say it slowly, as though tasting every letter.
So much loss for her: to lose language, to have her thoughts trapped inside with no way out. And yet, even though she was doing speech therapy to regain what words she could, she seemed strangely satisfied with the word that had not abandoned her, as though she would be fine if this were all she ever got.
As I spent time with her, I came to see that she had earned that word. I could tell by the way she said it—and by the way she listened. When I spoke to her, she had no reason to plan how she would answer me. I had her full attention, and I could see the comprehension in her intelligent eyes, but no matter what I said, her response was always the same: “Love.”
A monogamous relationship with one word—and she got to have “love.”
I couldn’t help theorize: Did she get that word because it was the one she had said the most—because it was the baseline of her communication and of her stance in the world? I suspected this was the case and wondered about myself. If I were to lose all but one word, which one would stay with me?
Complete article on the Huffington Post>