Friday, March 5, 2010

To never taste again

Backdate: 8th of February 2010-

I can't stop thinking about my uncle. He can no longer speak and he has lost the opportunity to eat. He who already lost his sight and walked haltingly with a cane and dark glasses- he can now no longer speak, eat or taste.
The result of 40-odd years of smoking.
Because cigarettes will do more than kill you.

Over the phone my mum tells me horrific stories of him, her big brother, mouthing words like 'help me' and the panic in his eyes when he realised that he could no longer make a sound. Her happier stories tell of moments that say 'i love you'- great strides for a relationship stranded by years of pain, his alcoholism and her hurt.
I was sitting at a favourite cafe as I thought all these things, musing over C the barista slipping me a sly latte that magically didn't show up on the bill. Wallowing in a bowl of spiced breakfast cous cous.
We make friends in the strangest places, particularly when there is food involved.
C is a kisser. A toucher. But I still didn't expect the outpouring of love with a big hug that I received when I told him about my uncle. In a world of food lovers, the thought of never eating again, much less speaking, is a terrible reality that strikes a chord.
C never even met the man, and still my sad news was met with a genuine need to show solidarity and support. Maybe my sadness and confusion were more evident than I thought. Perhaps the idea of never being able to speak, taste or eat again strikes harder than we can imagine.
I am conflicted.
Happy that the medical profession can ease the suffering of my life-long smoking uncle, horrified by the life that this help confines him to.
Apparently he jokes that there is only so much pureed bolognaise that one man can take.

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