As each year closes and a new one arises I take time out of my busy schedule to reflect on past activities, accomplishments, obstacles and develop new goals for the upcoming year. This year is no different although a reoccurring thought is how my life has changed dramatically since losing my eyesight without warning. Because of this I now require one long white cane and one support cane to walk which tests my creativity to find methods to carry objects with no free hands among other challenges that comes with living life with no eyesight. The busy holiday season and year end causes me to reflect on the way Kathy and I had planned to live our life achieving our dreams and goals prior to this life altering event. We anticipated and expected the need to overcome standard challenges most people experience, although we never thought our love and devotion would be tested so dramatically including gratefully surviving a three month coma and a seven month hospitalization stay when I lost my eyesight.
Although this obstacle of living life only seeing blackness does have its daily challenges it is not too difficult to do well in my profession. After getting out of the hospital I immediately prepared by completing training to obtain the standard blindness related skills including assistive technology as I relentlessly re-skilled myself to successfully perform my daily work for my employer. I also am continuously increasing my education by completing many professional and technical courses each year.
My greatest sense of loss is for my loving wife Kathy since we live alone and I can no longer assist her like I used to when I could see and walk with no limitations. My parents and other family members are also affected by my obstacles. Like others who are fortunate to be devoted to their career and providing for their family I am also working many hours a week. The main burden is all on Kathy to run the household including all home and car maintenance, driving, finances, all chores, taking care of our pets among many other tasks that keeps her extremely busy from sunrise to far beyond sunset. To assist in completing some non work related tasks I can’t complete without eyesight that Kathy usually helps me with I occasionally receive help from a caring volunteer from a local nonprofit agency which frees up some time in Kathy’s busy schedule. As I perform my job I can listen to Kathy (when I am not in conference calls) relentlessly keeping on top of all tasks, including squeezing in time to decorate for the holidays late into the evenings.
Some might wonder why Kathy goes to the trouble to decorate for the holidays and keeps the house we rent very clean and organized throughout the year since I can’t see anything but blackness. I sense she does all of her work beyond the tasks that are critical because it brings her pleasure and satisfaction. Kathy like myself also enjoys bringing joy into others lives’ and decorating assists with this mutual goal. Even though I cannot see the decorations with my physical eyes I see the beauty in my mind’s eye and can feel the joy of the holiday spirit. I can also sense the joy in others when we are blessed with the occasional company and our guests admire the home my wife and I have created with love and caring despite my inability to help Kathy with many tasks. The sound of joy and happiness is very gratifying and far better than any pharmaceutical medicine in my opinion to help overcome some ailments and attitudes. The atmosphere Kathy and I have created helps to ease the difficulties and obstacles we attempt to overcome daily. Although we seldom have time to relax since we are incredibly busy keeping up on all of the tasks we need to accomplish together I would not trade in my life with Kathy for anything. Holding gratitude in one’s heart and believing that one can overcome most any difficulty keeps my faith that Kathy and I will endure. Our mutual goal is to also leave time to help our family, friends, neighbors and others that are less fortunate.
If I was given the choice between if I want to see and walk with no assistive devices again or have Kathy as my wife, I will always choose Kathy to celebrate my life with!
Although I try not to allow my new obstacles to discourage me one song that always makes me consider what could have been and how much easier life would have been if I never experienced my challenges is the song “The Way We Were”.
For those of you who are hard of hearing or deaf and could not listen to the audio in the above hyperlink you can read “The Way We Were” lyrics.
Does anyone have stories to encourage others that may be experiencing challenges or have had life altering events that caused you to change your path in life? Do you have any messages of joy and gratitude you want to share? Lastly I want to wish everyone a happy, safe, healthy and blessed holiday season and a very enjoyable new year.
I look forward to hearing your valuable thoughts and comments to propel us into the new year with happiness and gratitude.
Global Dialogue Center