Sunday, 21 February 2016

YAY

On the way to Shul yesterday, I felt a twinge of confidence in my voice. A twinge that I'd felt before, but I was determined it would have a different outcome this time. I was greeted by a friend and my first words, stuttered but words nonetheless, in almost two weeks were "I can speak". Hardly profound but the genuine unbridled joy on this person's face is something that will stay with me. It grew from there and 30 minutes later only the required silence between the washing of hands and hearing Hamotzi could stop me. 

People were surprised, sure, but they were delighted too, which meant and means so much to me. The chaplains' kid turned to his dad and announced I could talk, he asked me 30 minutes later if I could still talk and smiled when I replied that I could. He has also confirmed that I can come visit him in Israel, which made me very happy too. Friends smiled and proclaimed how happy they were to hear my voice. A group of us had a LeChaim. I felt amazing, I still feel amazing, those moments after regaining speech are ones I will treasure as is the rest of the day spent in Shul. I had a a whole post planned about the answer to a question people asked, which was how it felt. I'm not going to bother. I'd be delighted to tell you how it felt, honestly, but this is a happy post and I intend to keep it happy. 

So, in that vein, a thank you, a comment about Jewishness and small quip:

To anyone who has sat with me, listened to me stutter or tried to interpret my gestures when I couldn't talk. To anyone who had the patience to try and communicate with me. To those who went above and beyond to look after me. To anyone who sent me a message checking up on me or letting me know they hoped I would speak soon. To the many people who did so much for me this week. To everyone who seemed so genuinely happy to hear me speak. 

Honestly, it meant the absolute world to me and I know I'd still be ordering Starbucks via note and needing to explain to the barista that I don't have a sore throat and don't need chai tea. You helped me through it, got me through it and I am and will be eternally grateful. 

I phoned my parents after Shabbat to let them know. My Dad, though obviously delighted, was very interested in the mechanics of how it came back and kept proclaiming how weird the brain was. My Mum was swept up in raw emotion. Speaking to her (ironically I couldn't get a word in edgeways) has become one of the best moments of my life, hearing the relief and joy in her voice is something I will treasure. She told me that I didn't know how many Shul's in Israel were praying for me after she told my uncle and it made me realise how important this small Jewish community is. The one I'm part of at university, at home, the ones where its members know you personally and the wider Jewish community that prays for a complete stranger because he's the nephew of your friend or friend's friend or whatever.

And, if nothing else, that application form question, "What's been your greatest achievement/challenge outside of academia" practically writes itself now.

Shavua Tov.