What happens to the world afterwards?
Eric Olsen

Thank you, Eric, for writing about this aspect of death. Thank you for your faithfulness and care and wanting to know about the silences that both joined and separated you from your mother. In taking the time to write in such detail, you have comforted me for not having had that leisure or opportunity to examine the minutiae, the tiny scars, and the gaping wounds gained in the similar and different paths I have walked. I have become something of a specialist in different kinds of deafness, not so much your mother’s profound deafness that I knew in a great aunt, who was close to me in childhood, as in the varieties of hearing defects that cause the range of mental illnesses from dyslexia and depression to schizophrenia and the variants between those extremes that have affected my immediate families. Those people have in common the inability of the hearing impaired to comprehend what hearing others are suffering, especially those who form the circle of love and responsibility. And, in our family, we also have people with hyperacusis next to which normal hearing must seem to be a type of deafness. I am caught in the middle with my arcane knowledge.

The importance of disseminating that knowledge has channeled my writing into discursive prose to the neglect of my personal feelings about the journey. Your writing makes me wonder if a less clinical and more expressive approach would reach more people with that essential knowledge I want to convey? Yet, I could not have made the discoveries about the ear and behaviour that came to me without that driving analytical bent of the scientist and logician and, in my case, the desperate need of a mother to heal her children. I am very grateful for the truth and clarity of your emotional journey, which is richer for the touchstones you provide not only for deafness but for actual and metaphorical blindness, for incurable illness, and for the inevitable end that comes before all mysteries are resolved. Thank you for your respect and responsibility and decency and love and for your faithful witness.

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