"Language is a virus from outer space" ~ William Burroughs
This quote from Burrough's has been circling my thoughts all week...
I have been spending time with my mum as she recovers from a stroke and watching her become infected with language, speech and a desire to express her thoughts, emotions...her stories, again.
Language is a complex, strange thing... and it is infectious...
One of the first sentences mum spoke only a few days after her stroke, was while an Occupational Therapist was enthusiastically speaking to her about South Africa and cricket and asking about mum's surname.
She said, " I moved here from South Africa with my family, 42 years ago."
And there it was...the virus of language spreading its infection through narrative...an affirmation of my mum's spirit, of her identity, her humanity ...her story.
Language is spread from one person to another as we tell our stories and explain the world around us. The narrative that occurs tells us about the person telling the story- how they think, how they express their identities and how they feel about the events that have shaped their lives.
"...on the journey words follow me, push me forward, and sometimes overtake me" (Lenni M-K, Voluptua Itinerus)
We've started a kind of journal for mum encouraging each visitor to leave a message, tell the story of what they see, hear, feel when they visit her in rehab. My sisters and I, as her travel companions, can spread the infection too, remembering to converse with rather than speak to her and encourage others around her to do the same.
I can only imagine how frustrating not having all the pieces of language and speech falling into the right places all the time is for mum...but nonetheless , her journey through this current life event, will essentially be mapped with language, with words, emotion, expression, images, stories and affirmations of self.
Myrtle has fantastic stories about an amazing woman to tell...I am happy and privileged to be infected and inspired by them.
About this blog
many roads... ...on the journey words follow me, push me forward, and sometimes, overtake me.