Surviving

Feeling the warmth of the sun on a cloudy day. A glimpse into a blind billy goat's unique, ever changing perspectives.

2017 06 26 Journal Excerpt Page 40 June 26, 2017

 

Some days I don’t feel much like writing. Other days, it feels like I didn’t write enough, or I didn’t write about the right thing, or I strayed to the left when I should have veered to the right. Through all of my time spent writing, I have built up quite an assorted array of essays, stories, poems, and a ton of other things that I don’t really know what to call. Through my fingertips a new world has arrived, and as I have read back through this journal, I’m glad I was chosen to create the text.

 

In a word, thanks.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 40

Fall 2011

 

During the month of October, I had the chance to attend my first white cane and guide dog walk of independence in Augusta. My wife, son and grandson Jack also came along, and again I had the chance to meet some people in the blind community of Central Maine. The day was perfect, with warm temps and sunshine flooding the streets of the capitol, and as the canes and paws made our way around the downtown area, I realized that when it came to mobility with my white cane, I wasn’t alone.

 

My retired VRC Leona McKenna was also in attendance, but she wasn’t able to go on the walk with us. She had just been through a rather difficult surgery procedure on one of her feet, but she was there 100 percent in heart and spirit.

 

I did get the chance to talk with another woman, Marge Awalt, and her husband Hugh. They had brought a door prize with them, a voice activated dog that reacted to an accompanying book being read. Did I describe that good enough for you to follow along? Anyway, it was a pretty cool door prize that Jack ended up winning.

 

I just talked with my friend Lynn Merril on the phone, and she remembers being there. By the way, I should remind you again that this page post differs from others, in that I am writing it right now, the 25th of June, 2017. I am gap solving with additional journal info that I never wrote about, until now.

 

Well, the fall was full of differences, as you can imagine, and that I never would imagine. A funny thing happened on the way to writing a short story for my Saturday online writer’s group. We were directed to write a short story for Halloween, and so I set off on a quest to do just that.

 

I didn’t end up writing a short story though.

 

Usually short stories consist of roughly ten pages or so. As I started writing my story, something inside me kicked into gear. I knew after a couple pages that this story wasn’t going to be a short story. Just the way the events started happening, and the way that the movie inside my head was playing, I knew it was more than a short story.

 

Well, Saturday came, and during the group meeting everyone started discussing their stories. During the week leading up to the meeting, members usually submitted their writing piece to the groups list serve, an email list only accessible by group members. This way, the writers had a chance to read the other writer’s submissions in preparations for the next meeting.

 

Anyway, the online meeting started, and the critiques started flowing. When the critique moved to my submission, I told the members that I tried to write a short story, but couldn’t find an ending to it, so I submitted it anyway.

 

Everyone seemed to like the 8 or nine page submission, which I had entitled, Chapter One. There was another writer in the group who decided not to write a short story, but instead continued with chapters of a lengthy story he was writing. Even though I felt a little awkward not being able to end the short story, I shrugged it off as a stepping stone for things to come.

 

And come they did.

 

During this time, my sessions with Mike Adams also continued. I was becoming more comfortable with using my computer, as well as web stuff, in particular, my blog. I had started the blog off with posts declaring my hate for cancer. I had named the blog “Surviving”, as a reminder that I was a cancer survivor, or as I like to say, a cancer conquerer. I hadn’t really thought that the name could mean so many different things, such as surviving blindness, mobility lessons, lawn mower repairs, one sock coming out of the dryer, and probably the worst thing of all, running out of chocolate. The word had so many possibilities, and with each possibility came a world of issues, of chances, of opportunities that could either set you on your ass, or pick you up and take you to the other side where the roses were handed to you in the winner’s circle.

 

Yes, the lessons with Mike proved to be very beneficial, as I had become very dependant on my computer. I communicated with people with it. I felt so comfortable with writing, and while doing so, I didn’t have to worry about maneuvering around my day. I did my maneuvering with the keypad and my fingers. The text that JAWS read to me became a world that I could control, and without the vision there were so many things that I was constantly coming in contact with that kept reminding me how much of my day was completely out of my control. I mean, how could anyone control what they couldn’t see? How is that possible?

 

So many times those slogans of AA came into play, Keep it simple stupid, Turn it Over, Let go, Let God, they all reminded me of the one true thing that I could always control, and that was me. Little old me.

 

Every once in a while I go back and read an old blog post. Often times I sit and laugh while reading, and I ask myself how I ever learned how to write the things I do, the way that I do. I’ve often said that my writing is sometimes like a ping pong ball bouncing all over the place. I just shrug it off, and consider that as long as all the words end up on the screen, then it’s all good. Most of the time, they do, but how the hell would I know? grin

 

And now, for those three little words,

 

To be continued…

 

2017 06 17 Journal Excerpt Page 31 June 17, 2017

I’m not gonna lead into this next segment with much in the way of comments, except to say that the roller coaster of emotions kept on rising and falling through the days of 2011 with an endless surge of electricity. As time chugged along my entries into the journal grew wider apart, and I forgive the repetition of what was going on. I guess although it was the same old thing over and over, the days separated the events from each other, and through it all, the growth was evident.

I hope you’re all doing well, and here we go.

Deon

***

Spring, 2011.

Dana burke is here right now cleaning our furnace. I like him a lot. Always have. He is just so damn friendly, and always has made me feel like family around him. I have always considered him as one of the best people I have ever met, plus he’s funny as hell!

Well, Like always, the winter of 2011 slid on by, and spring came none too soon. I had survived my first winter as a blind man. Lynne had made it through probably one of the hardest stretches in her life. I realize that I must have been a trip to live with during those first few months. If I could manage to climb out of my head some days, it probably wasn’t that bad for her. Unfortunately, there weren’t too many days when this feat was accomplished. Most days, I was a blind guy with many needs and constant reassuring that I was ok. Some days I was totally convinced that I was not. I did seem to plow through that first winter with the love and support of all my family. I do not like to think where I would be without the help, love, and support of my wife. As much as she doesn’t think that she is my anchor, I will tell you that she is my anchor, and I would aimlessly drift out to sea without her.

Spring did come, and the snow left, and it was good to see it. There were a ton of things that were bothering me about the coming summer. There were so many things that I was no longer going to be able to do, and that bothered me to no end. I really had a hard time with all of it, and I can remember lying many mornings in bed, awake and contemplating the days ahead of me. Every time I would think of something different that I was no longer going to be able to do, I would get a rush down through my body, and then feel really really sick to my stomach. It would come in waves, and the tension and anxiety that these feelings and thoughts created was relentless, and continuously pounded me down, flattening me and snatching the breath out from my heart and soul. I really did not know what to do with these feelings, but I also knew that I had been feeling similar feelings throughout the months since the vision loss. I knew I would be ok, but some days I didn’t know just how I was going to be ok, with all of these fearful feelings resonating inside my troubled soul.

Prayer, and support, and internal determination got me through these months, these mornings, these days and afternoons, and if not for the tools that had been implanted in me over those few months, I probably would not have been able to keep my head above water. I owe so much to so many, and had so little to give back in return, or so I thought.

One day leading into another, and the troubled thoughts and worried paths that my mind took seemed to keep piling up. With each day of pain and anguish, there came with it a day of growth and accomplishment and determination and strong will.

Entry, April 22 2012,

It has been many moons since I have written anything in this journal. I am sorry.

In that spring of 2011, I was faced with so much adversity that I really felt like I was on auto-pilot or something. I was going through the motions, and gobbling up every last thing that I could get my hands on, but still I was left with an empty feeling, similar to the one I am feeling right now. It is a haunting, relentless feeling of doubt and worry and anguished anxiety that always tends to leave me in a state of constant worry about things I feel I can not control, but somehow should still be able to. Those days through the spring of 2011 flew by, as all the other days did. I couldn’t see the leaves on the trees budding. I couldn’t see the starlings flying north in a never ending line. I couldn’t see the grass on the lawn turning green. I couldn’t see the crocuses, or the daffodils, or the new growth on the spruce trees. I couldn’t see any of it, but I knew it was there, just out of reach. Everything felt just out of reach. Everything felt like it was behind a curtain, and the show just wouldn’t start. Everything seemed just out of reach.

I dove head first into my computer even more heavier through the spring. I was writing every day, and relied heavily on it. It was the one thing that I could control, and I thoroughly enjoyed the thought of it. It just felt so good to write my emotions and feelings and thoughts, and then go back and read it afterwards. It was like I was reading it for the first time. It was a good, new feeling that I quickly grew fond of. It was what I wanted to do more than anything else, and I quickly became addicted to the sound of the keys popping under my fingers.

I also started back in on my mobility lessons in March of 2011 with Rosemary. This is when I started writing lesson overviews after each lesson. I found that when I wrote about the lessons, I was able to go back and really take a long look at how I felt, what I learned, the emotions I experienced, and the growth that I was working on. I still didn’t like the lessons much, and with each time out, I found that my skills were getting better. The uneasy feelings were becoming bearable. The doubt was replaced with a feeling of humility that helped me through it all.

I still to this day, don’t like my cane too much. It is the one thing that totally reminds me of just how blind I am. I still feel embarrassed when I have to use it in public. I feel like the whole world is watching me. I feel like the center of attention, and that, to me, is the worst feeling in the world. I have never been one to crave attention. I have never dealt well with it, and don’t look for it. I can’t help it, but it is just the way I am wired.

through the spring, I tried to stay in touch with family as often as I could. the home finances were constantly tight, and thank God that Lynne was working. Her extra income really helped to make ends meet.

To be continued…

 

2017 06 16 Journal Excerpt: Page 30 June 16, 2017

This next excerpt was written November, 2011. A lot of time had passed since I had started the journal, and with large chunks of no activity, I often repeated myself with the entries. Many different things stuck out in my mind, and many things slipped to the side along with the rest of the blurred time.

That first year of vision loss was like the 100 meter dash. Ready? Set? Gunshot! Look at me go! It’s amazing that the world was able to keep up with me, because it sure as hell seemed like I was dashing around like a frantic man, late for work, late for the train, late for a very important date.

The important date was the rest of my life, and although I couldn’t see it, I could sense it standing there, checking the time on its wrist watch.

Time’s a wasting, so we better get going with this next post.

Take care.

Deon

***

Page 30

Nov. 12 2011

It has been, once again, several weeks since I have written in this ledger. I realize that when I have such large gaps in the entries, that the subject lines can tend to sway to and fro, as I lose focus of where I am, and the topics I have covered.

Winter 2010, 2011 was a long lonely winter for me, as well as for my wife. I know that it was probably the hardest winter she has ever had to endure. Not only was it a long and cold winter, but there was a lot of snow, and adding the extra work that she was forced to deal with, it must have been hell for her. I do admire her, and her perseverance through the long snowy days.

For the most part, I tried to do what I could, when I could. I managed to keep some paths cleared of snow out back, so that we could manage the dogs. I can only imagine how ratty the paths looked, after I got done shoveling and clearing them of snow. Most attempts at this was just that, attempts. I had no real idea what in hell I was doing. I tried to keep my visual land markers in order, but some days the blinding snow played tricks on me, and I would seriously lose my orientation. I can remember one day in particular, I thought I was shoveling out around the pool, so as to make a short run for the dogs, and a place to chuck the Doggy doo. I had no idea whether I was shoveling the existing path or not.

I was not. I had veered to the left, and was shoveling where no man had gone before. It was the final frontier, and I had no control of the bridge.

I had many times such as these, where I thought I was going in one direction, and to my shocking surprise, I was heading in the total opposite direction.

Writing this, I think back to the Lion’s meeting that I spoke at, and the facing the flag dilemma. grin

From that shoveling round-about experience, forward, , I fully understood that there were going to be times and places where my limited vision would let me down, and that humility would play a major role in how I managed to handle different situations.

I continue to get twisted around from time to time, and there are very many situations where my vision is completely useless, such as in dark, and unfamiliar areas. I will always have to keep the mind set of a blind man, and learn from each experience. I have captured many skills this past year, and as long as I can keep a healthy frame of mind, I will continue to learn and grow, as a man who can’t see very well.

Through the winter months, as I have said, I completely dove head first into my writing. I continued to get pc tutoring from Mike Adams, and with his help and guidance, I continued to advance my knowledge, and learned the accessibility features of my pc, and am grateful for the opportunity in doing so.

In early march, I did get switched over from System Access, to Jaws. I had to wait a couple months for the full version software, and up to then, I had a demo version installed. I was able to dive into it, but the demo version had a time limit on it, and after the limit expired, you would have to reboot the pc to gain another full time interval again. I did not like to reboot my pc, as most of the time, it would take me around an hour to get it fully up and running again. I have been having a series of issues with this pc since back in early 2010, where it would do the dreaded blue screen of death, and crash with a system crash dump. On top of that, when you would start it from a cold state, it would run fine for a few minutes, then with a click of who knows what, the pc would just go black, like someone had unplugged it.

These problems have been plaguing me ever since, and at this time, I leave it on 24/7. I don’t dare to shut it down, for fear of having to go through this process every time.

There also started another issue where even with a quick reboot, the pc would start ok, it seemed, but none of the programs would load up, and the system was virtually unusable. This dilemma would last sometimes for an hour or so, until everything would start loading and working all at once. It really freaked me out when this happened. When this still happens.

Over the years, I had used a little program called C Cleaner. It was a utility tool that had a couple functions. I used it to clean the junk out of the pc, like temp files, caches, recycle bin, and the temp files of the web browsers. It also had a nice registry scan tool that picked up errors, and corrected them.

I had stopped using the program after learning that the company where my wife was working recommended that none of their employees use it. She convinced me to delete the program, and so I did.

It was a few months later that my pc developed the issue with the programs not responding upon a reboot. I was in peril, as my screen reader would not load upon reboots. I was left without the use of my pc, and it really sucked.

I then remembered about the registry scan utility of ccleaner, and figured out how to download, and reinstall the program. After a few frustrating hours, I did manage to get the program up and running, and I ran the registry scan a couple of times. Thank God the program was somewhat accessible, and I could maneuver through it.

After the registry scans, I reluctantly tried a reboot, and the program response was back to normal. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, as I had brought my pc back into a fact simile of normalcy.

Nothing had felt as good as that did in quite some time. I felt independently capable of handling a problem, and was very happy with myself. I will never use another registry scan utility again, and fully feel comfortable in recommending this program to anyone I know.

To be continued…

 

2017 06 12 Journal Excerpt Page 26: Word Count 998 June 12, 2017

email: dplion@roadrunner.com
Word Count 998
Blog Address: http://www.dplyons.wordpress.com

Boy were my perceptions a little distorted back in 2010. Reading back through the journal, it’s apparent to me that I became so needy that I grew to expect things from people. I became selfish and unfeeling outside of my own pain and anguish. As many wrenches as life was throwing at me, it seems that I didn’t do the smart thing, which would have been to catch the wrenches, open my tool box and stock up. What I became good at was blocking the flying tools with my forearms while I cursed my very existence.

I apologize to anyone that I have looked down to, talked down to, and expected things from which was completely uncalled for. I know that I still do fall back into my little nook sometimes, and I’m in no way finished working through the process of grieving. They say that time heals all wounds, but it has become fairly apparent to me that there’s a ton of things that I still need to work on.

While I keep working, I invite you to keep reading. Thank you all for your help, your friendship and once again, away we go.

Deon

***

Page 26

After I returned from the Carroll Center, I also contacted the Lions Club in Clinton because I had heard about them at one of the class seminars at the center. I had no idea that the Lions organization had so much to do with helping folks with vision problems.

I wrote an email to the head of our local chapter here in town, and was answered by the head person. She asked me if I would be interested in speaking at one of their monthly meetings in town. We were invited for the supper event that coincides with the meetings. I gladly accepted and was quite excited at the chance. I thought I would be nervous, but at the end, I was really not. The fact that I could not see the people at the meeting as I spoke probably had a lot to do with my non fear factor. I had always been terrified to speak in front of people in the past, but found that it was rather easy to speak that night.

One of the regional big wigs of the organization was also in attendance at the meeting. He spoke to the group and told them that one of the main reasons that the lions club was formed, was to help and assist people such as me.

We were graciously welcomed at the meeting, and treated with the utmost courtesy and friendship. It was a true fellowship feeling.

I did speak with passion and a little sense of humor, as I always have in those situations. At one point, I was speaking, and Lynne kept whispering for me to turn to the right. I did. She told me to turn to the right a little more. I did. Still, she told me to turn to the right. I asked her if I was speaking to the wall. One of the men at the head table told me that I was speaking to the ,American flag behind the head table. It seemed that as I was speaking, I was slowly rocking back and forth. As I rocked back and forth, my feet shuffled, and continuously slowly turned me around to the left, until I was facing at around seven o’clock. He told me that I was speaking to the flag, and then I put my hand over my heart and said, “Well, God Bless America.” The whole place burst out in laughter. Lynne told me that my ears were beet red, which happens to me when I get embarrassed.

The night was a lot of fun, and I felt really good afterwards. I knew a couple people at the meeting, and they came up to me after to say hi. We left with the feeling that we would be in touch with the Lions Club a lot in the future.

To this day, fall 2011, , we have heard from no one belonging to the organization. I did find out that Leona has also been involved with the organization, and this past spring, she went to one of their regional events at Sunday River. She keeps telling me that the organization is going to be in contact with me about some sort of offer or something. She also wants us to join the organization. I have my doubts.

My folks reached out to the organization when I was an infant, as they were looking at an incredible task of getting my mother and me down to New York City for cancer treatments. The organization did nothing in the form of any kind of help. My folks have held a sore spot in their hearts for the Lions Club ever since. ?This fact, along with the fact that I have had no offerings of assistance what so ever, have left me with a sour taste in my mouth as well.

I realize as I write this that my perceptions of the Lions Club arise from the turmoil I was going through, and in a fractured state of mind as I had laid claim to, strange perceptions and expectations can work in to your mind and play havoc with your approach to many, many things. How can I come to expect things from a source that I knew nothing about? How twisted is that? How twisted was my logic back then? Should I consider this as one of my stepping stones, one of my learning points? Just asking these questions leads me to believe that the answer is, yes.

On that December day back in 2010, I came to the bitter conclusion that I would wait to see what was to transpire. The last thing I wanted was to close any doors in my life. I could not, and can not afford to by any means.

To be continued…

 

2017 06 11 Journal Post Page 25 June 11, 2017

This next segment was written September 2011. When I read through it I realized again that I often wrote how I felt like a complete waste of time. I felt many emotions, and many of those left me wondering, worrying and wandering through a slideshow of a dark place that, even though I didn’t care for, I found myself struggling to not think about.

I know now that by writing about it, I was facing those fears head on in a way that allowed me to explore different understandings of things that were brand new. Its funny how learning how to touch type opened up so many different things for me. Nothing can veer me away from believing that things happen for a reason, and we are exactly where we are meant to be. This time, today, right now is the start of something new. Each minute of each day is a gift. The present.

Pretty cool, huh?

Deon

***

Page 25

It’s been some time since I’ve entered anything again, so here goes.

Those days when I returned home after the Carroll Center were some of the hardest days I have ever lived. They were also some of the most spiritually awakening days of my life. I tried to have a chat with God on a daily basis. A lot of the chats revolved around me asking Him “why?” I did not know why anyone would be left with the vision that I was left with. It really hit home and I felt continuously like I had done something severely wrong to be left with this. It must have been redemption for all of my past faults and past wrongs. I truly did some soul searching back in those days, as I still do today.

The first few weeks after returning home, I was left with a feeling of sheer emptiness. My wife, God bless her, had poured her heart and soul out onto the table for me and everyone else to see. I wasn’t sure just how much fuel she had left in her tank. She has shown me time and time again what a strong woman she is, and that she is in this, along with me, for the long haul. I can not imagine being in her shoes, back then, or now. I must have seemed like such a lost child. Some days I still do.

The months through the winter were long, hard, and cold. I tried to grasp onto everything that I had learned at the center, and for the most part, I think I did the best I could. I still felt like a lost little boy with no sense of purpose. I did keep in touch with Leona, and she told me what I needed to hear. She always did.

Mid way through December, I managed to get the roto tiller rolled back to the garage area. It was very hard for me to know that the tiller had been out there beside the garden all summer, and had not been used. She talked to me, my tiller. She cried to me to let her have a couple runs through the garden. I was not able to run the tiller for obvious reasons, and Lynne just couldn’t run it herself.

That was a part of me that I had lost that really had an impact on me. It really hit home, and I still greave the loss today. My garden had been such a form of independence to me, without even knowing it. Now as I write this, it’s been a full summer of having no garden, and I long to walk through freshly tilled dirt again. Nothing felt better than walking through cool fresh dirt with my bare feet. I just loved it, and miss it greatly.

As I have said before, I am sure that I will gradually get back into gardening, but it’ll be a completely different feeling. Who knows, it just might be even better than before. We would like to get into some form of box gardening, or a small plot so that we may grow some tomatoes again. I think that’s what we miss the most, the roma pear tomatoes. When I walked past the box gardens at the Carroll Center, I could smell the tomato vines, and it almost made me cry. I crave the smell of tomato vines.

Well, winter came, and the snow piled up outside. I did manage to get the front driveway and a few paths out back shoveled. It was extremely hard, and I look back and wonder just how I did it.

I know that I must have run back and forth over the same shoveled areas again and again, because I could not really see the areas already shoveled very well. I did persist though, and managed to keep the driveway and the paths out back all clear all winter.

I did get some help from Mr. Nelson across the street, as he used his Kubota tractor a couple of times to clean the end of the driveway back. The snow at the end of the driveway was piling in from the town plow, and creeping in to the driveway. I had a very difficult time getting the snow up over the banks with the snow scoop. One of the last storms that we got was very heavy and wet snow. I had to use a regular shovel to get the end clear. I thought I was going to have a heart attack before I was all done.

I used to make a running joke about thinking I was doing such a good job at shoveling, until one day my wife drove up beside me and asked if I would like a ride back to the house, because it seems that I had shoveled right past the end of the driveway, and had unknowingly started busily making my way down the road. I got a lot of laughs from that one.

To be continued…

 

2017 06 10 Journal Excerpt: Page 24 June 10, 2017

This next excerpt was written late summer 2011, and describes the return home from the Carrol Center in November, 2010. I was met with a wall of change, none of which I was prepared for. I know that change is good, mainly because it helps us veer away from complacency. Even though I couldn’t see anything coming at me, my feet kept moving forward.

What we do with change defines who we are. Whether you take it head on, maneuver around it or back away from it, change is gonna come. A pocket full of change is far better than a truck load of complacency.

Ready? Set? Look at you go!

dp

***

Page 24

I left the campus that afternoon feeling sad. I also felt happy. I was a mixed bag of emotions as my son and I headed north on 95, back to Maine, and back to my wife, family and home.

The next few weeks after returning home, I felt out of place. I had grown so aware of my existence at the Center. This was just a whole new ball game. This was the rest of my life, and it was staring me right between the eyes. I didn’t know this thing, this life thing, this blind life thing. I had tried preparing myself for it, but it still managed to sneak up on me anyway. I was not prepared in the least. I never felt so scared and out of place, and needy. I just felt like I was no where near the man I used to be just a few months before.

I did stick with it though. Lynne had done her best to get all our ducks in a row while I was at the center, and this was no easy task. With a loss of steady income and not being eligible for disability for six months, our financial situation quickly became serious. I don’t know how she managed to juggle everything, but she did, and my admiration of her continued to grow. I tried to help her as much as I could with whatever I could, but everything I tried to do seemed to take so long, and was just so much of a hassle. Little ordinary things like get the dogs outside, or swap the load in the laundry, or wash the dishes, or take the trash, all of it was completely different. Completely different in my mind set and how I had to rearrange my brain to be able to do these tasks that I had done a thousand million times before.

You see, on that day back on the 3rd of July 2010, my life took a u turn. Everything I knew disappeared from sight. The sounds and smells and touch seemed strangely the same, but without the sight, even all of those had changed perception. All that I was, and all that I would be, hinged on how I was going to be able to handle the changes that faced me every day, and believe me, they hit me head on. I can remember breaking down, completely crumbling on many a day, with being totally consumed in fear and anguish and anger and frustration and a continuing loss of ability to handle it all. It was just too much for me some days. I still had a hard time understanding how someone could wind up in the predicament I was in. My sight sucked, and for the most part, what I could see, made me dizzy as hell. It was like looking at a pathetically dull, fluorescent scheme of colors just before dark. It really freaked me out, still does. I have a hard time explaining to people just what it is that I am looking at most of the time.

I did have two really clear moments of vision, or at least the most clear, and these were when I woke up the first morning at Tufts, and when I woke up the first morning after returning home after Tufts. Those two mornings filled me with hope that maybe my sight would get better, at least enough to get some use out of it.

Those two mornings I was met with a stark clearish vision field. It was filled with sharp lines of clarity and edges of shapes. It was also filled with these images being stretched and twisted and warped right in front of me. It was the weirdest things I had ever seen. Nothing from the sixties could ever come close.

I can remember hanging on to the wall at the hospital as a nurse escorted me to a bathroom in the hall. I was saying under my breath, “This is just so ffffffing weird. I could not believe what I was seeing, but the fact that I was seeing something set me off on an emotional roller coaster. I cried and laughed. It was something I will never forget. The same sort of thing happened to me on that morning at home also. I was headed towards the bathroom and I was met with the same twisted sharp images that set me once again reeling with emotion. It was like everything I could see was being soaked with water and was starting to drip and run down through my sight, like colors on a canvas running down from top to bottom. It was just one of the strangest things. It really did sort of frighten me. Those were the only two mornings that I have seen images such as those. I have wished and hoped and prayed for these visions, as twisted as they may be, for just one more moment.

I have been told by my Ophthalmologist in Waterville that the damage to my retina is irreversible, and that I have no hope of gaining more vision than I have right now. On that day, it seemed that the last nail closed the coffin filled with hope. I buried it, along with any notion that miracles would ever happen. I know that miracles are just that, miracles, and they could occur under any circumstances, but when it comes to my vision, I don’t hold out any hope for them any more.

To be continued…

 

2017 06 09 Journal Excerpt Page 23 June 9, 2017

I have always been sort of a kid at heart. Growing old has only increased the distance of years, but the memories of the actions remain fresh in my mind. Certain things we feel as a child become embedded in our core. The time spent moving away from our youth might clutter the hallways with a vast experience, but the taste of our childhood often lingers on the tips of our tongues.

This next segment brings back so many different memories for me. Not only the memories of the moment, but the experiences of a child with eyes as big as the starry filled skies.

Ok. Scattered brain tangent acquisition complete. Present task frame re-engaged.
Current journal excerpt initiated.

Deon

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Page 23

I walked up to the graduation podium that morning feeling like I was skipping along a cloud. It felt a little strange to be able to hear the people in the room, but not to be able to see them.

I made it up to the microphone and spoke about a scared guy that had just become blind, and had come to this place in Newton Mass to try and figure out how to live as a blind man. I was nervous and my voice was shaky and cracking. I felt just like I did in grade school when I had to go up in front of the class to read a book report. I suppose that by not being able to see the audience, it did relieve me of a lot of my inhibitions. My anxiety levels were not as combustuous as they usually were.

I thanked the center instructors, and the staff, and the other students for being there for me. I told of friendships that had been built on hope and faith and drive and determination. A truer foundation for friendship had never been seen by me.

As I ended my words of thanks and praise, I started back to my seat as the audience applauded me, as they had done with the others.

Mike got back on the microphone and told me to turn around and come back to the podium. I was a little surprised and figured that he had a story about the chicken coop that I had helped with.

It wasn’t about the chicken coop.

I turned and walked back to the podium and stood beside Mike. He asked one of the staff to go over to the table where the shop projects were. He told them to bring mine over to the podium. He took it from the staff member, and handed it to me. “Mr. Lyons,” he said, “I would like you to tell everyone the story of this little toy truck.”

I was surprised as hell and wondered why he had picked mine as the only one to be highlighted. I felt very strange, but I also felt very good.

I took the truck from him, and proceeded to tell of the story of a little boy that had told his grandmother of a present that he wanted for Christmas. The audience was hushed as I spoke of the truck and the trials of building it, and of a wonderful shop instructor that made it all happen.

It was a wonderful experience to be able to tell the story. It was a simple story of love and determination and passion and drive and hope and family and faith. It was a simple story from the heart, and as I told it, I got a peaceful feeling deep inside of me. It was one of the best feelings I have ever felt. The whole while I was telling the story, I got flashes of Lynne and Jack rushing through my head. I knew that Matt was filming the speech, and I smiled knowing that he was only a few feet away. Man was it good to have him there. He made the whole day complete.

I ended the story with a tear in my eye as mike grabbed my arm and squeezed it tightly. “Thank you.” He whispered to me in my ear. I returned to my seat with the truck still in my clutches. The room applauded, and after the last person went to the podium, I was swarmed with people from the auditorium wanting to take pictures with me and my grandson’s truck. It was a strangely wonderful feeling.

There were a lot of pictures taken after the ceremonies, teachers with students, students with parents and loved ones. I was asked by Heather to take a picture with her and fellow student Brandon Eiffel. I was glad to. I had grown quite fond of Heather. Some of the other students didn’t care for her. I think it was just her demeanor, but I was able to see through all of that, and I feel that I was really able to get to know her as a person. She always had praise for me and continually told me that I was way too hard on myself. I know this, and continue to be. It is a trait handed down to me by my father. I strive to reach a level of praise according to what I feel his standards were, and are.

I did wonder why my project was selected out of everyone else’s to showcase at the ceremony. I was told later on that it was because my story was something that everyone could relate to. It was so heart warming and simple and full of a Childs vision of what Christmas means. I felt proud and so lucky to have the family that I do. Every time I think of Jack, I smile. It isn’t just a surface smile, but a smile from deep within my soul. It’s a smile that will be with me for the rest of my life.

To be continued…