If you don’t recall what transpired in yesterday’s installment, look back. Now – it was the preamble to this valiant tale, the day I empowered my mother. I didn’t intend to take sides but as a certified speech-language pathologist –  and daughter #1 – how could I not act?

I looked up to see my father shaking his head, fingers pensively gripping his chin.

What! I could hear and I was certain that my mother could, too. Egad! Just because a person can’t speak, doesn’t mean they can not hear! It’s a much-violated law of life…

I looked hard at the man and said, “You can speak to my mother directly, you know.”

Startled, my father began to back out the door with abject apologies for my imprudent behavior.

Aghast, I was. Flabbergasted that my father would flaunt my absolute knowledge of speech-language pathology and victims of stroke. It was an education that he’d paid for when I went to Purdue.

The good news is that I didn’t chase the men down the hall and back them up to a wall. To smack them.

No, I did something better. I evened the playing field of talk.

I turned to my mother, lifted her head with a gentle finger, and looked into her sad eyes. “Don’t you let anyone ever speak at you or about you over your head and not include you in conversation.” 

“You are my mother and you are worth it! Without you, I wouldn’t be alive.”

I empowered my mother. The facility’s speech pathologist began to work on more than her swallow. And, all who entered her room spoke to her.

My mother may have flailed, but she spoke among a ring of her female friends on the grounds, outside where I’d wheeled her chair, the next day.

I almost kissed her, but I didn’t want to divert her friends’ attention elsewhere. I nodded and she continued. She improved and improved and improved.

The bad news is that she didn’t live more than six weeks after, but the good news is that I changed the dynamic, something that I was born to do.

Be the change.

If you need a miracle, there you are… applause!

My speech-language pathology degree put to its best use. Ever.