I lost my sight thirty-eight months ago, and most of the time, it seems like yesterday. I remember back to that Saturday morning in July, when everything around me kept disappearing, until, finally, it was gone for good. It was gone, but I wasn’t. I remained right where I was standing, and believe me when I tell you, I felt like I was totally alone. Even though my wife was near me and I could hear her voice, I felt a thousand miles away, standing all alone, on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the rest of my life, and I couldn’t see even a small sliver of it. The entire unknown picture of who I might become, what I might encounter, where I might end up was hovering just in front of me, and I couldn’t do a thing with it. I couldn’t grab hold of it because it was just out of reach. A lot of things seem just out of reach to me lately, because you see, my vision is slowly getting worse. I keep having those mini strokes when I can see a checkerboard in front of me. I believe that it is the cones or the rods in my retina being starved of blood, as they were back in 2010. The checkerboard clearly presents itself, and each square on the board is like grains of wood flowing in the opposite direction of the squares next to it. I don’t know how else to explain it, so, king me.
As the little bits of color fade, as the edges of objects soften, as the shadows blend in with sunlight, it pulls me back to the colors of my past, reminding me of how things used to be, and probably how they still are. I am very fortunate to have any sliver of vision at all, and am blessed with the small glimpses of God’s magic that I’m still able to collect.
If and when I finally lose what sight I have, I will start another chapter of my life. I don’t think this one will be as catastrophic as back in 2010, but time will tell. I am fortunate to have had the skills taught to me, and the wisdom to be able to maneuver from here to there, while utilizing and manipulating my box of tools. I have a very long way to go, and yet, it’s ok. I know that with continued efforts I will endure all that come across my path, and am a very lucky man to have built up support from family and friends.
I will say this a thousand times, that I have so many to thank, and so much to be thankful for. I have done the leg work, but there have been so many positive things along the way that I can’t help but feel lucky. Lucky and of course blessed.
I do miss so many things from my sighted past, the colors of the flower beds, the blue in the sky, the way the river sparkles under an autumn sun, the bees tumbling through the apple blossoms in the spring, the lines of corn peeking up through the soil in early June, the running paws of a sleeping dog, The lines of Canada geese going this way in the spring, and that way in the fall. I miss the look of a thunder cloud moving in from the west, the icicles hanging down from the front porch in the winter, the soft hue of the blue spruce in the spring, the crocus blossoms in late April, the way the wind carves its poetry into the fresh fallen, snow filled fields out back, the way my wife’s eyes squint when she laughs. I miss so much, but I still have so much. I miss so much, but I have so many wonderful memories. I miss so much, but there remains so much in front of me. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair, to have lost so much, but to still have so much to lose, or so much to look forward to? That, in and of itself is reason to keep on keeping on.
Now that I think of it, did I really lose a lot of stuff, or is it that I just can’t see it? I mean, it’s still there, right? It feels the same as I remember how it used to look. Man, that last line made me dizzy. sorry.
I fill up my days with a combination of things as they used to be, and things as the way I perceive them to be. I fill up the days with old memories pulled into the gift of today. I fill up my days with life, and as long as I keep living it, I will continue to create memories for tomorrow.
I am still the first blind person I ever met. No one came before me, and I welcome all that may follow. The compassion and love of those in the blind community is unlike anything I have ever been a part of. Granted the love and affection of my family will always rise above anything else, but this? this is something I have never been a part of. This is something that can surely stand the test of time. This is the support, the nurturing, the compassion, the inspiration, the meaningful purpose of a generation of folks that define the goodness of a certain kind of people.
I am surely blessed. I know it, I feel it, I talk about it, I live it, breathe it, and I cherish it. Sometimes I talk with folks who still have eyes that work, and they tell me that some of the stuff I am doing is quite simply put, amazing. They tell me that the confidence I exude and the poise that I reflect is something to see. I appreciate the thoughts, and then I remember that I am part of a foundation. I am a representative of the thing that I admire the most. I am part of something that is and will remain much bigger than I will ever be.
I lost my vision thirty-eight months ago, and during that period of time, my life has changed. I am not perfect, and will never claim to be. There is no perfection out there, except the perfection of pure love. I do have faith, and I do feel the perfection as it was intended. I will keep moving forward, and with so much inspiration all around me, I will continue to grow, as I have done these past thirty-eight months.