When I lost my sight back in 2010, I went through a few weeks of some incredible swells of inner emotion that I had never felt before. It was a never ending roller coaster ride through hell, and I couldn’t make it stop.
In the summer of 2011, I reflected back to those days and wrote the following piece. It is hard for me to read these days, but it is an accurate snapshot of those two weeks, and it is also a reminder of how far I have come and how much I have learned about all things, including myself.
Thanks for all your support, and, here we go…
Tag, You’re Blind
Painful anger filled with fear of doubt. That’s what I feel. That’s how I identify. That’s my prison, and at times, I choose to just sit there and take it. I choose to sit there and not want to face the trials and hardened lessons. I choose to just sit there and feel sorry for what I have become, for what I have been instantly subject to, for what I feel will be my future. I choose to accept that it will probably never get better.
I feel the frustration of a thousand dreams. I feel the anguish of a thousand blows to the head. I feel the haunting screams of a thousand empty corridors. I feel the resentment of a million eyes, gazing upon me, unknowingly.
I want to rob everyone of the very same thing that has been stolen from me. I want to justify my agonizing struggle. I want to scream at the top of my lungs so the whole world will know my pitiful plight. I want to dig a hole and crawl in it. I want to find a place to escape the never ending nightmare that keeps me awake. I want to simplify the definition of the purpose, so that my simple mind may someday understand why. I want to take back the last fifty years and place them in a drawer where I can get at them and relive them. Start over. Fresh. Vision intact.
I want to see the green of the grass. I want to see the yellows in the flower garden. I want to see the colors of fall. I can feel them, and taste them, and hear them, but I can not see them. I miss the sight. I miss the independence. I miss the look from my wife, the gaze from my son, the light in my grandson’s eyes. I miss it all. I want it back. I would do anything to get it back.
Frantic blur awaits me every morning. Mixed up sketches awkwardly wrap themselves around my colorless day. Foggy glare from the sun taunts me with memories of the past. Dull, murky light from the window ridicules my passions that lie, just beyond. I am surrounded by a life full of memories. I am surrounded by a house full of hints and shades of what was. I am surrounded by a sightless glance at a lightless future full of question marks. I am surrounded by things to see, but no way to see them. I am surrounded by what I used to be, and what I have yet to become. I am surrounded by fear and doubt and painful fury filled with unfamiliar landscapes.
What does it all mean? What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to feel? What am I supposed to tell them all? How am I supposed to make heads or tails out of something that eludes me? How am I supposed to create anything from the blackness that has swallowed my day? How am I supposed to feel, when everything that I knew has vanished? How am I supposed to find the strength to pick myself up and move on, when every time I turn around, I have not the energy to even lift my head? When am I ever going to be able to completely accept what has happened to me? When am I ever going to be able to buck up and move on? When am I ever going to grow up and act my age?
How can I be a man, when the one I knew has vanished from the mirror? How can I become something I can no longer seem to be? How am I ever going to live the rest of my life with so many things just out of reach?
How can anyone live this way? How can I be expected to just take it all in stride and get on with it? Get on with what? Get on with this? Are you kidding me? The only way I seem to enjoy my day is to do whatever I can to get away from it. To disappear. To crawl into my yesterday, while I worry about tomorrow. To close my eyes and, wait, oh that’s right; they’re already closed, or might just as well be.
Pitiful, pitiful woe. Shameful, tasteless hollowed out shell of a man. Childish yearnings for the way things used to be. Ego full of mindless attempts to show the world just what has happened to me. Poor attempt at trying to be a sightless, scattered man, that’s what I am.
Everything I thought I was has been ripped out of my hands. Everything I thought would be has been flipped upside down. Everything I thought I knew has changed. Night has fallen all around me, and the street lights never came on. I’m in someone else’s car, with the wrong map, and I’m driving down an unfamiliar road. What I can do has changed. What I am able to do has completely changed. What can I do? Where should I go? Who should I be? How can I ask for help when I don’t even know what I need? How can I figure it out, when I can’t see the problem? How should I know how to act when I don’t even remember what play I’m in?
I guess I’ll just keep pretending that I know what in hell I’m doing. I seem to have fooled everyone, so far. Maybe I’ll get lucky and figure out, one day, how to fool myself too.