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The gray beyond: A family copes after tragedy

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Author: 
Keith L. Alexander
Published Date: 
27 July 2013
Publication: 
The Washington Post
Original article: 

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA — Thomas “TC” Maslin easily reads to himself the local newspaper or latest issue of the Economist.

Reading aloud a simple children’s book is another story.

“Five little ducks went out one day. Over the hills and far away. The woman duck said quack, quack, quack,” he says.

Read it again, his instructor prompts. “The mother duck said quack, quack, quack,” he reads this time.

TC’s wife, Abby, beams. “Your quacking sound is awesome!”

He reads another sentence with no mistakes. “Oh my goodness,” he exclaims, laughing.

TC’s aphasia — his struggle to speak — resulted from a brutal assault on Capitol Hill last August. His intellect is largely intact. But his brain labors to command his mouth to say what he wants to say.

As the first anniversary of the attack approaches<, TC, now 30, and his family are still putting their lives back together. Intensive speech therapy through a program in Canada is one way; he wants to read again to his 2-year-old son, Jack. He also wants to teach him soccer someday. He wants to return to work and provide for Jack and Abby.

TC and his family are also still absorbing how their lives will never be the same. He is no longer the man Abby married four years ago — the handsome husband, the energetic runner and soccer player, the brilliant young policy analyst specializing in energy resources.

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