Ever since I can remember I have been quiet and introspective I take in everything around me holding it in my heart. I have had a wonderfully blessed life full of positive things. I once thought that was normal but now that I am older I can see so much hurt and pain in the world. All my life I have been soaking in things in my life that now have made me a very strong person. I was always quiet as a child and as I grew I found it hard to talk to just anybody. I had to get to know you pretty well before the real me came out. Then I was silly and goofy, the class clown, just trying hard to get people to like me. Even after I was married my husband was a good talker so I let him do the talking. So I kind of lived through his conversations never saying much myself. While working people saw me as stuck up and to good for them just because I seldom spoke to anyone. I found a profession that I was really good at. I was a realtor. When working I found that I knew just what to say to get the job done, but still no chit chat or light talk. My business partner saw this happening and tried to draw me out. I knew him well and could talk to him as we worked, easily. Not too long after that I had a massive stroke. Immediately I couldn’t speak. No voice, and I couldn’t move. Before anyone knew what was wrong with me they thought I had passed out but I was wide awake and totally aware of everything going on around me. They were trying to figure out what to do and I was screaming out in my head call 911. That’s about when they realized that this was serious and they should do just that. I was then in a hospital unable to speak or even move and they were trying to take care of me. My husband was again my voice telling everyone what I would want. I couldn’t even open my mouth let alone get anything out. I did learn to point to an alphabet board to speak my most urgent needs. I got real fast at spelling my needs but it was hard to keep up with me. I would get frustrated easily and cry a lot. This got me labeled as a behavior problem in the nursing home I was in. I finally got my computer back and tried to tell people what was going on but by then I was already labeled a problem so no one listened. I lived seven years of basically being mute because I was getting little air in my lungs I could get very little volume out and most people couldn’t hear me, or didn’t want to hear, or just didn’t understand my speech. I went through several speech therapists trying to get me to speak and if you listened real carefully you could make out what I was saying. In a crowded nursing home full of older people and people with mentał issues I was mute. After seven years and a miracle one morning I got the air back in my lungs I could talk, not perfectly, but enough for the nurses and aides to understand me if they took the time to listen. Still I couldn’t communicate with the majority so I still did not talk much. I had so much to say but to who, so I became a really good listener. I found out so much about everyone by just listening around me. I always had good hearing. I was always writing about everything that happened to me from the stroke on. Which made for some good books. I enjoyed getting heard.
– Annette Coffey