It’s been twenty eight months since I saw the color green. It’s been nearly a year and a half since I was able to see myself in the mirror. It’s been a long time since I have been able to look into my wife’s eyes. I miss them all tremendously. I miss having the sun in my eyes. I miss my son, and my grandson, in my eyes. I miss watching a full moon creep up in the eastern sky. I miss the amazing painted strokes of the western mountains at sunset. I can still see them in my mind, but the view isn’t as good as it was before.
It has been many months since I could see a foggy morning, or a storm cloud approaching, or a blue jay on the kitchen window feeder. It has been some time since I have looked up the KennebecRiver as we crossed the HinckleyBridge. It’s been a wicked long time since I saw those sexy eyes of my dog Coco. Yes, you heard me right. Sexy eyes!
I have molded and changed and conformed to not having vision. I have adapted and learned and accepted all of the new things that came crashing into my life back in 2010. I have made the adjustments, and for the most part, I didn’t even know they were taking place. It’s like they were self adjusting, for the most part. I didn’t have to worry about a lot of them, they just, sort of, self adjusted.
I remember back, right after I lost my sight, I didn’t think I could ever live the rest of my life as a blind man. I didn’t think I could ever possibly learn, and adapt, and accept. The acceptance thing was probably the hardest thing I faced. I couldn’t seem to come to an understanding that I was blind, but I was still me. I was still the same person, but different. I was still the same guy who put his pants on, one leg at a time, but it all felt strangely different and unfamiliar. It was all differently familiar, but slightly changed.
Who am I kidding? The fact is, it sucked big time! It was the most horrible feeling in the world! It was like someone had come along and kicked my life right out from underneath me, and stood back and laughed at me. It was a cruel joke that for some reason, I felt that I deserved. It seemed like I had done something wrong, and my fate was taking care of everything. The tables had been turned, and all of the bad, wrong, unlawful, uncaring, selfish things I had ever done were all coming back to haunt me, all at once. An unending barrage of past imperfections, all of my character flaws were being displayed, one at a time, over and over, and no matter how much I prayed and asked God for forgiveness, nothing changed. Nothing changed, and everything stayed the same, dull, dark and bleak. I was slowly falling into a hole that continuously reminded me that there was no escape, no way out, no hope of ever regaining my life back. I was falling and clawing and screaming for someone to help me back to the way it was, the way it used to be, the way I wanted it to be.
The form of help that I pleaded for never came though. It never came, and I was a pitiful wreck of a man because of it. I was selfishly asking for something, expecting something that just couldn’t happen. It could never happen, and the more that I tried wrapping my mind around this mind bending fact, the deeper into the hole I went.
I was alone with my never ending tornado of twisted logic. I was pushing away the help that was there as I kept attempting to grasp at a false perception that repeatedly picked me up and body slammed me back down onto a hard concrete floor.
I would say that this went on for a few weeks after my sight left. I was faced with some of the same mental anguish that I faced back in 1992 when I tried recapturing my life from the confining clutches of alcohol. I was faced with the same internal struggles that I went through back then. The more I tried to control the situation, the more it got away from me. The more I tried to make a deal with God, the more he showed me how far off track I was. The more I begged and pleaded with the devil himself, trying to work up a deal, trying to sacrifice this to get that, the more I realized how hopeless the task was. The task was hopeless, and would never change, until I came to the understanding that I was right where I was supposed to be, and that nothing would change it back to how it used to be. Nothing I did, as hard as I begged and pleaded, none of it would take me back to my vision.
I was a pitiful wreck. I was at the end of the rope. I was in constant torment and never ending internal ridicule. I knew the reason that I lost my sight was my fault. It had to be. It had to be something that I did. Right?
No. Once again, I was tremendously wrong. Once again, I was looking at everything from the same viewpoints as those that I used to wrestle with, probably through my whole life. Once again, I was forced to step back, take a deep breath, and ask God for help. I had to ask for the serenity, courage and wisdom to be able to realize that there were certain things in my life that I could steer, but my vision loss was not one of them. It never would be, and none of it was my fault.
My first blog post, way back in the spring of 2011 was about how much I hate cancer. It was about how much I despise the wicked monster, and how much I admire anyone who battles with its awful, wicked ways.
I still do hate cancer, and I still do admire anyone who faces the battle. True warriors in the face of one of life’s greatest adversities. So many inspirational stories, so many strong willed individuals, taking on the biggest enemy of all. So many encouraging tales of amazing spirit and unmatched strength. The stories are countless, the heart ache, gripping, but the love that surrounds the hearts will always shine through in the end.
I lost my vision, not because of imperfections, or faulty things that I did, but because of cancer. I lost my vision because I was strong enough to conquer infancy cancer, and live for another fifty years. I lost my vision because of one thing, I was meant to lose my vision. I was meant to see what I saw, to live what I lived, to love the sights and visions for as long as I did, until it was time to store it all away, and step towards the next chapter in my life.
I often believe that it was necessary for me to lose my vision, so that I could learn how to see.
I have a whole different outlook on things these days. I still do give my wife fits, and sometimes I have a hard time getting out of my “poor me” attitudes. I realize that it is an ever changing world, and I am also ever changing, right along side, so it is a constant struggle to try and keep track of just me. I have so many different things going on in my life than I did two years ago. I seemed to be just going through the motions back then, and for the most part, the years were piling up, with nothing much to show for them. I was a complacent slug on the lawn, looking for another comfortable lawn chair to crawl onto. I loved the world, but just as soon sat back and just watched it roll by instead of getting out there and making a difference. I was in a rut. A self made rut. It was a comfortable rut though, with all of the essentials that I wanted, lusted for, yearned for, craved and desired. I had what I wanted, but not necessarily what I needed.
I don’t know if I have what I need these days, but the things that I find myself wanting are much more different than they used to be. Other than my pc, and my other few accessibility items, I don’t find myself wanting any of the same trendy things that I used to. They just don’t seem to matter anymore. It’s funny how much vision played with my desires. Pretty much most of them were visually driven. I don’t have the luxury of being driven by visual stimulation any more, and the world of trend will just have to find a way to do without my interaction for the time being.
I have different passions these days. I don’t do drugs, or smoke, or drink any more. I really can’t afford any of them, and I don’t think the world would be a better place with a drunken, blind billy goat roaming around in the dumpsters of the world with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Not really a pretty picture, when I try to picture it. Smile. Not in the least.
I have different things that drive me these days. I am still fully engulfed with the love of my family, and without them, well, Taxi! I would not even begin to be able to fathom where I would be without them in my life these past couple years, as I have said a million times. I also have the privilege of having an additional family these days. I have people that have entered my life and taken hold of my hand. They have taken me and showed me a different way to live. They have enabled me to look at things from a totally different perspective, and to learn to love things from a different viewpoint. They have listened to my fears and my worries and my concerns and carefully and patiently led me through a different door. The door was always there, I just never cared to venture out through it, until I met them.
The wonderful and amazing folks in the blind community, as well as those who work in the fields of blind rehabilitation, have showed me that there is still hope, there is still a sun shining, there is still ocean waves crashing into the rocky shores, and it is all still out there for me. It’s all still out there, and if I choose to, I can go out and get me some of it.
As I have said before, I owe so many so much. I owe my life’s direction, not only because of my own drive and determination, but because of people out there telling and showing me that I have something inside me that others can see. I have something in me that have been inside me all this time, but never really had a reason or purpose for making itself known. It was in me all along, and somehow, because of my vision coming at me from a different direction, it has been conveniently yanked out of me.
Now, normally, with my own stupid reactionary response, I would just neatly and quietly tuck it back away, out of sight, out of mind, and no one would be the wiser. No one, that is, except me.
So much of my life has changed. So much of how I mentally approach things has changed. So much of what I desire these days is totally different.
I’m not sure where the next days, weeks, months, or years will take me, but if it’s anything like the last twenty eight months, I’d better buckle up, and be ready.