With the recent announcement of Bruce Willis’s aphasia diagnosis, this previously unknown and quite invisible, disability has now come to the forefront of our collective awareness. A few years ago, I had never heard of aphasia. If I thought enough about it, I probably could have figured out what the word meant.But that all changed on Sunday, May 25, 2008.
The evening before was a festive occasion as my family gathered at my brother, Kevin’s, house to celebrate the college graduation of his daughter. My son’s college graduation party was scheduled for the following Saturday. But that night, it was all about Lauren…until the cake was served. At that point, my other brother, Tom, surprised us all with another cake. This one was for the mother of the college grad, my sister-in-law, Marita. She had just earned her second Master’s Degree in Library Science (the first being in Special Education), but kept quiet about her achievement, so as not to steal any of the attention from Lauren. As we were preparing to leave that night, Marita told me we could expect to see them for our party the following weekend. We all said our goodbyes and headed home. In a matter of hours, everything was forever changed.