On one of his periodic visits from New York to his father in Georgia, the Rev. David K. Brawley realized he was having trouble making out the older man’s words. For the previous four years, ever since cancer was found in his chest, Don Brawley Jr. had gone through periods when his voice weakened, when its baritone clenched into a hoarse rasp.
But this fading, labored tone, his son believed, was something different. And because doctors had recently found his father’s cancer returning, even after the years of chemotherapy and the presumption of being cured, different meant ominous. It also meant humiliating. David couldn’t bear to ask his father to keep repeating and explaining.
David’s brother, Don Brawley III, concurred. He lived near their father in the Atlanta suburbs; their father served as deacon and administrator of the church Don III pastored, Canaan Land International. They were accustomed to speaking several times a week, and in a sneaky, gradual way, his father’s voice had grown so faint that Don III was depending on reading lips and interpreting body language.
So he and his sons, his two minister sons, went in search of his voice, or something that could replace it.