Discovering our voices together after my wife’s stroke

With her own voice changed by the stroke, she wanted to hear the Bible spoken aloud by her husband.

I was two minutes away from boarding my bicycle for an April morning ride in the hills of upstate South Carolina when the cell phone buzzed. “You should come now,” said my sister-in-law. “It’s Cindy. I think she’s had a stroke. We’re on the way to the emergency room.”

My wife and her sister had been visiting their dad, an every Friday tradition, when my wife said the words “Ben Sasse”—the senator and former Lutheran college president from Nebraska—in a conversation about reasonable Republicans whom her conservative family members might want to consider as a sane option in future elections. They were the last words Cindy, a rabid Democrat, would speak for several days. (Cindy has not written to Senator Sasse about being struck speechless by saying his name, though she plans to.)

I don’t remember much about the hour-long drive between Walhalla and Anderson except that I cried a lot, sped through yellow lights, and phoned my daughter and four friends to ask them to pray and please contact others. The rest is a blur. The receptionist at the ER was waiting for me, and someone led me back to a bright, curtained room.