Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Single Word

I originally titled this "The Final Word" but it sounded too much like my last post. I've missed posting on schedule lately, but I'm not done. Life has just been - dramatic - lately. So this isn't my last blog post, even though my two readers might not even miss me.
Last night we had dinner with some close friends and they introduced us to another nice couple they knew. During the conversation this couple mentioned that before she died her mother got to the point where she could only say one word. It wasn't clear whether she seemed to have conversational abilities and was just locked into that single word or whether communication was totally beyond her. But it was clear she had only one word, which she used to express her entire state of existence.
For her that word was Sunday.
Well, it might have been sundae - I didn't ask for spelling, and I'm not sure whether they knew the answer to that question anyway. Perhaps it never even occurred to them that she might be referring to dessert rather than the first calendar day of the week.
I was stunned into silence (and everyone noticed). "Well," I had to say, "I'm wondering what one word I would want, if I could only have one…"
I sort of expected a lively discussion after that opening, but there were no takers. I guess that isn't surprising. Our new friends have dealt with the concept for a long time, so it isn't something for them to ponder. Of our close friends, she has a mind like daVinci, full of clever mechanisms and building concepts - a natural genius actually. He has a mind that can catch a tune in mid-air and bring it to life on the piano, a genius with melody. Darling, of course, thinks in pictures and brilliant colors, different hues of sunrise and sunset, a genius in lines and colors. My abilities seem particularly affected by words.
Was it Sunday, the day, or sundae, the dessert? I don't suppose it matters.
When I said I wondered what my one word would be, my buddy sincerely hoped it would be a nice word, with some justification. I wasn't in the best of moods, and my dark mind could easily conjure an injurious or inglorious word to use as my final verbal tool in this world. I was hoping I'd have some control over the choice and it would be a nice word too.
That conversation died. But I continued to ponder what single word I'd want to have with me, my only means of communicating with loved ones and with the people who might decide to torture me in my invalid state. After all, I had to consider both possibilities.
Words floated around me as I slept last night. I was tortured with vowels and consonants. Not-so-nice words battered at the kinder, gentler mono and multi-syllabic versions of my persona.
What word could I use to convey my depths of despair and my heights of joy? A single, simple word to protect me from the world and link me to loved ones? Sunday wasn't looking too bad in comparison to some other options.
Then the word came to me, as I drove to work this morning.
If I had to be left with a single word in my life, I'd want it to be…

>> Hallelujah.


  1. I *did* put my word - just highlight the last couple lines. The idea was for you to think about it before you looked at my choice. What word would you want?

  2. I like your word, sir. I like it more than mine, perhaps, and it really is a perfect word, and it shows a lot of strength...to come up with a word like "hallelujah" after a few weeks of drama.

    My word was "hope."

    (I still have to ponder.)

  3. I suspect that your single word can change throughout your life, Dear Daughter. Hope is a good word.