Has anyone who became disabled ever almost forget what it was like to experience any aspects of life before becoming disabled? For example I experienced a critical medical issue in 1999 that required me to spend seven months in the hospital where I became completely blind. After leaving the hospital I immediately plunged myself into physical rehabilitation. I embraced many blindness related skills as I rushed through my personal and professional life seldom thinking that I can’t see anything. This is the case generally unless I have artificial barriers like accessibility or usability obstacles which reinforce the fact that I am completely blind and all I see is pitch blackness.
It seems like it may be possible to forget what the environment I live in looks like since I can no longer see anything. For example the other day I was talking with a group of people and one person mentioned seeing an enormous rainbow that stretched across the entire blue sky. This rainbow I was told was clear and full of brilliant colors. As the person was describing the beautiful sight I recalled an image of a rainbow from my memory and replayed it for my mind’s eye. Needing to think for a bit to recall the image made me think, wow, I had almost forgotten what a rainbow looked like. It also made me stop and think, am I also forgetting about other visual aspects of the environment. For example what colors are such as the color purple in the rainbow? I also would not want to forget what the moon, stars, clouds, the many colors of the sky depending on the weather, mountains, trees, rivers, oceans and all the beauty of our earth’s environment look like. For me it was an uncomfortable feeling that I might lose some memories of things I can no longer see with my physical eyes preventing me from imagining such scenes when I want to replay those images in my mind’s eye. That thought made me think I had better take time out of my busy life from time to time to remember what I had once been able to see so as not to forget these wonderful images. I also believe that some people with eyesight might take for granted that these visions will always be there to enjoy forever.
Others who have different disabilities than I might experience the same kind of memories of things they previously were able to experience. Maybe a person with a mobility impairment remembers what it was like when they could walk, stand or even hold things in their own hands. People with hearing impairments might remember what it was like when they could hear clearly. Maybe a person with a speech disability remembers what it was like when they could talk without obstacles or the use of assistive technology. Many others with invisible disabilities, or temporary challenges might remember what it used to be like. Also others who have been disabled since birth may have different thoughts, perspectives and experiences regarding this subject because they have never experienced what they may have never had.
One of my most feared thoughts is that I will forget what my wife Kathy looks like. Forgetting what my other family members, friends and co-workers look like is also uncomfortable. One positive in their favor is that all people whom I remember what they looked like are forever young in my mind’s eye since their images will never age. I also realize physical appearance does not matter like one’s inner beauty although I would still like to never forget what others look like. One amusing observation is my memory of what I look like is fading.
Does anyone else feel they are starting to lose memories of how some aspects or sensations of life were prior to your disability or your short term challenges? Does anyone have any tips to share to assist us who are experiencing what I have described? Any more stories to share about this subject?
We all look forward to hearing your valuable comments.
Global Dialogue Center