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... reading this reminded me of my experience w my dad when, due to stroke, he was unable to talk for several years. My dad was not disfigured, however, but that made it even more interesting when old friends would greet him and find him dumbstruck, but otherwise unchanged. My dad was v comfy w computers, as is Ebert, so that was a grace for him too. He managed to regain much of his productivity that way. I remember the experience well: the awkward silences can be profound; the "mind reading"; the body language; the ache of great fondness; the significant eye contact. It is different living, but it is just as rich and meaningful (perhaps more) as the talking kind.