This post is inspired by a top-rated discussion thread on Reddit.com:
I’m losing my hearing. Most of what I hear is high-pitched ringing due to Tinnitus. I’m a big music fan, and I’ll miss it dearly once I’m totally deaf. Post the last thing you’d like to hear before you went completely deaf. I will listen to every one of them.
There are some 500 beautiful responses from complete strangers, and counting. Click here. Reading the thread is one of those special moments of realisation that we’re all the same. Beethoven’s final symphony, No. 9 in D Minor, is a recurring response; ironic in that Beethoven was deaf when he wrote it. Jeff Buckley’s album Grace, all songs Radiohead, Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence, Stevie Wonder. But it’s not all music; “I have a handicapped daughter (cerebral palsy). If I went deaf today, I’d want her laughter ringing in my ears.” For others, it’s the words “I love you”, spoken to and from.
‘Wild World’ by Cat Stevens is my choice, or his album Tea for the Tillerman if time allows. I don’t need to hear “I love you” from those that do; I’m lucky to know it, and will continue to know it in deafness. Listening to Cat Stevens, I am transported to the lazy Sunday mornings of childhood, playing outside with my sister while our parents gardened. To my ears, there is no musical voice happier or more comforting than that of Cat Stevens.
I got thinking about the loss of my other senses; sight, touch, taste and smell. Taste, touch and smell are easy: a deliciously ripe fig from my Yia Yia’s tree, a dive under the piercing cold waves of the Southern Ocean, the smell of summer weekends; sunscreen, lawn-mower clippings and onion on the barbecue. Or the lingering smell of ‘Coco’ on my mother’s cotton scarves. But for sight, I’m undecided. Of course the smiling faces of those dearest to me, but then again these smiling faces are engrained in my memory for good, regardless of what happens to my vision. Maybe I’ll go with the ocean on one of those Australian summer days when you can’t make out the divide between water and sky; there’s nothing but blue and it’s the most beautiful sight you could ever see. Yep, I’ll go with that.
What would you choose as the final experiences of your own five senses?