“Hello! I’m looking for Laura. Has she left the office yet”? I asked raising my voice as loud as I could. In this afternoon’s mail, she had sent me a form requiring my signature and date, before mailing it to the IRS.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t hear you. Can you speak louder?” A tad of irritation shadowed his words, impatient to close the office for the day. After several attempts to be heard, I said I’d call back tomorrow and hung up the receiver, pissed.

Evidence of another symptom of my terminal illness irks me: insufficient air in my diseased lungs to sustain normal speech, even while wearing continuous oxygen and taking morphine and nebulizer treatments to slow down the collapse of the air sacs in my lungs. Exhaustion is another component. Eventually, I could lose my speech.

The irony of such a loss weighs heavy upon me, especially since I only began to speak when three years old; an older brother mimicked my total development, so, I did nothing—too terrified to go out on my own, I just imitated others’ speech and behaviors when I had to. Decades of unfortunate choices followed until I began dream analysis in 1988 and AA in 1991. Through the help of others, I began to wake up to my inner gifts with their unique expression—Even more so, when encouraged to begin writing.

Now when I desire to converse deeply with others, I’m severely limited. Writing does help, but face-to-face sharing strikes hot coals, and in their warming, phenomenal learning.

I still flinch when someone says they can’t hear me. If I don’t replace my anger with Step Three: Made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him, I stay mired in self-pity and that’s never worked. Precious God is bringing me home according to his plan, not mine. There’s no other way around this.