Afer extensive treatments for cancer, including the removal of part of his jaw, film critic Roger Ebert is still critiquing movies and writing, but he is unable to speak; he also can’t eat or drink. His recent column reflects on life without a mouth.
One day in the hospital my brother-in-law Johnny Hammel and his wife
Eunice came to visit. They are two of my favorite people. They’re
Jehovah’s Witnesses, and know I’m not. I mention that because they
interpreted my story in terms of their faith. I described my fantasies
about root beer. I could smell it, taste it, feel it. I desired it. I
said I’d remembered so clearly that day with my father for the first
time in 60 years.
“You never thought about it before?” Johnny asked.
“Could be, when the Lord took away your drinking, he gave you back that memory.”
Whether my higher power was the Lord or Cormac McCarthy, those were
the words I needed to hear. And from that time I began to replace what
I had lost with what I remembered. —Roger Ebert