Surviving

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

2017 07 28: Journal Post Page 46 July 28, 2017

Well my journal finally screamed long and loud enough for me to realize that the story was sitting there, patiently waiting. Sometimes the really important things in our lives get moved to the side. Sometimes our attention becomes swayed towards the next amazing thing, or wonderful thing, or addictive thing, or whatever thing grabs you by the collar and jerks you sideways. I think it’s safe to say that the most important items of our lives always remain on the front of the shelf, so that we can’t help noticing them every time we walk by.

I’m not sure if this story of mine is an attention grabber, but as I’m writing it, it sure as hell is grabbing hold of mine.

Happy summer day to all of ya’s, and I surely do hope this finds you doing well.

dp

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Page 46
Spring 2012

Spring 2012 instilled many changes into my life. My vision was basically the same, although from time to time the clarity of what I was able to see seemed to grow significantly. The window of vision still remained in the right outer peripheral in a small, vertical crescent moon shape, with a larger window of light perception that brought to me the differences between day and night, light and dark, what I knew was there, and what I couldn’t see. The left peripheral of that same right eye kept reminding me of a possibly total dark future, which I hated with a raged passion.

These small tantalizing slices of better sight usually only lasted a moment or two before I was pulled back into the dull and hazy gray halls of what I had become used to, and what I relied heavily on to help me maneuver my way through the day. The blue colors that I was afforded seemed to be the strongest, which fascinated me, as every time I was startled, the color blue roared in like a cloudless summer sky. I called it Wal Mart blue, and realize now that I’ve probably already told you this. Either way, these curtain calls of color had a great impact on me.

My emotions still came roaring in like a rush of high tide. Some days I seemed to be chugging along at a good clip, not thinking about being blind, not worrying about the rest of my life, not thinking about anything other than the day. I worked hard trying to stay busy, and my computer grabbed the largest chunk of my day.

As I said, the emotions rose and fell quickly, and without warning. Many times I would be overcome with a feeling of hopeless, helpless torment, which usually left me breaking down for a few minutes. It felt like a great power was scouring my heart and soul with a cleansing release of all the worry, panic, fear, frustration, and left me completely worn out. I didn’t like these sudden surges of emotion, but looking back I realize that it was happening for a reason. I’m still learning what that reason was, or should I say, what that reason, is.

That spring I entered the final phase of my O&M lessons with Rosemary. She and I had been trudging up and down the sidewalks of Waterville for nearly two years, and our relationship had grown tighter than ever. I still disliked my lessons, but always felt good about my accomplishments after they were done, and I was writing the overview of the lesson. There was one final assignment that she handed me, and when I first heard what it was, that usual rush of charged electricity set in motion the wheels of resistance that smacked me with the usual reaction, one of which I was neither proud of, or glad to see.

Rosemary laid out the final white cane excursion, but it quickly formed into much more than just an O&M lesson through the streets of Waterville.

To be continued…

 

2017 06 24 Journal Excerpt: Page 38 June 24, 2017

As some memories fade, new ones are born. I wish I could have all of my memories back, but if the unwritten rules say we have to turn over those to gather in these, then I’ll keep trying to make the best of it. Some of my childhood memories are as strong as the ones from last week. How is that possible? How can that be? Such a long time ago, but then again, a couple years ago seems at times as far away as a childhood in Little Falls. Digitally manufactured and preserved by an imagination out of control.

 

My memories of my past have come to visit so many times. Some days I just sit and think about different things. Once in a while I reel in something that I haven’t thought of for quite a while, and usually it builds a smile across my face.

 

I like those the best.

 

Go grab yourself some memories.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 38

Summer 2011

 

I have an amazing lady by my side. I know she isn’t happy that she’s reading about herself right now, but she is a part of my story, as she has become a part of me.

 

Thinking back, there were so many times when she went the extra distance to help me realize that my life was very much still worth living. Although my pity prone self pushed back many times, there were those times that it didn’t, and the result was a taste of a world gone by, with a pinch of a world waiting to be.

 

That summer of 2011, we bought several five gallon buckets and set off to grow some potted roma tomato plants out behind the garage. I remember every part of the experience, and that first bite of one of the tomatoes was pure heaven. The plants didn’t yield as much as our traditional garden tomatoes used to, but the smell of the vines, the taste of the fruit was unforgettable.

 

I tried to do as much with my stupid sight as I could. I joked that I could see just enough to piss me off, and it was true. So many times I would strain to see just a little bit more, and each time I did, I became dizzy as hell, almost to the point of passing out a couple of times. I dunno what was causing it, but I soon learned that I needed to accept what I had and learn to do the most with it.

 

My dreams were a trip back then. I would often dream about being able to see, and realizing in the dream that I was supposed to be blind. The dreams inserted the belief that I could see, and my blindness had somehow miraculously come to an end. Eventually, I would wake up, and again, I was reminded that I still couldn’t see. I loved the feeling that my sight loss had come to an end, and wish I could have convinced the moment of the dream to follow me back to reality. Oh how I wanted that to happen.

 

Or did it?

 

There were several mornings in those first couple years when I awoke to see something very familiar. Yes, that’s right. See. Each time the experience was the same. The images of my past, or so I thought, seemed to catch up to me for a friendly visit.

 

As I woke up, I lifted my arm off the bed and swung it into a new position. I saw it. I saw the skin color, the contours of my arm, the color of the wall, the ceiling, even the shimmering ring on my finger. I moved my arm a few times to make sure it was real, and the vision corresponded perfectly to my movement. My heart stopped in my chest, my breath couldn’t breathe, and as I stared at my arm, it stared back. I thought I must be dreaming, but knew I wasn’t.

 

The visions continued on for roughly thirty seconds, and then, slowly, the picture faded into a dull gray haze. I was shocked by what I had seen, and sad to see it go. The experience, brief as it was, sent an electric current down through me that lasted all day. These sightings happened five or six times within the course of a year or so, and to this day I can still see the skin tone of my arm. It was like an old friend had stopped by for a visit.

 

Unimaginable, unannounced, unbelievable, wonderfully unbelievable, simply unbelievable.

 

As I wrote a little earlier, Lynne kept tugging me towards new experiences that proved to be eye opening adventures. I imagine she was trying to get a piece of me back from the past, almost like planting a tomato plant in the fertilized soil, so that it would grow and become something new, something that stretched to meet the sunshine and learned how to grow towards tomorrow.

 

As the metaphors stampede my thoughts, I realize that I am the luckiest guy in the world to have the partner I have. I also realize that so many times my stupid ego has continuously gotten in the way of a good day. Pitiful, selfish, self centered child who had no clue how to recognize a golden opportunity.

 

I forgot what it was like to live, but I was comparing everything to my sighted life. I was comparing apples and oranges.

 

While I waded through the turmoil of existence, I did manage to keep my feet moving forward. I kept reminding myself of the promise I had made to myself to move forward, no matter what, and to never turn away from an obstacle, a challenge, a formidable wall of fear, for those things that proved to be opportunities often disguised themselves as things that I used to veer away from or ignore completely. My old character traits of complacency and laziness wanted to take me for another stroll, and many times I still gave in, until I remembered the goal of maneuvering through whatever this darkened corridor had in store.

 

To be continued…

 

2016 04 04 Poetry: I April 4, 2016

Another day, another dollar three eighty five. Oh my. Look at the shiny coins.

Squirrel!

Ok then. I’m back, and I’m focused, or am I?

Have you ever thought you knew what you needed to know, only to find out that you were incredibly wrong? Yes, this has happened to a goat I know on a number of occasions. Actually, on numerous occasions, or is that the same thing?

It’s April 4th, 2016, and don’t look now, but you’re probably eventually going to end up heading towards something that you are totally unprepared for, and it’s probably going to sting, a little, and maybe a lot, but there’s only one way to find out, right?

This poem below is one that I just finished writing a few minutes ago. It’s quick, to the point, and although it continuously seems to avoid the point, it eventually took me to a place I have been a few times, but ended up being completely unfamiliar with.

And then, the day keeps coming atcha.

Thanks for stopping by one more time, and I do hope you keep on finding the courage, the strength, the faith that you’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Take care, and here we go, again.

dp

***

I

I’m sorry
I didn’t know
I didn’t think
I didn’t realize

I wasn’t paying attention
I wasn’t looking out
I wasn’t expecting it
I wasn’t ready

I ask for forgiveness
I ask for understanding
I ask for compassion
I ask for guidance

I will try harder
I will try again
I will try one more time
I will try and try

I’m slowly catching up
I’m really working hard
I’m giving it all I’ve got
I’m almost there

I can almost see it
I can almost feel it
I can almost hear it
I can almost sense it

This isn’t the right one
This looks completely different
This seems out of place
This isn’t what I was expecting

Am I in the right place?
Did I make a wrong turn?
Have I misunderstood?
Do I look confused?

I made a mistake
I apologize
I’m sorry
I,

 

2016 03 15 Seasons of Change March 15, 2016

Hello Mr. World, and how are ya doing? I see you’re still spinning around the neighborhood, right? I guess some things never change, right?

Some things do stay the same, and some things we take for granted that they will always be as they have always been. It’s a comforting feeling, don’t you think? I mean having everything right where it’s supposed to be, right on time, right in tune with that same old familiar song that’s been playing in your mind for what seems like eternity. It’s all familiar, it’s all predictable and it’s actually never ever gonna happen.

Never gonna happen? Oh what pray tell, Mr. Goat are you talking about?

I’ll tell you what I’m talking about, but first, a word from our sponsors.

Have you ever thought you knew exactly where something was, only to find that you end up spending six and a half minutes looking for the darn thing? Did you snap the television on last night in hopes of watching Blue Bloods latest episode, only to end up looking at eleven people standing on a stage, telling you what’s wrong with our country, and the person standing next to them? Have you ever opened the freezer to have at the little remaining bit of moose tracks ice cream, only to find that your equal, or better half beat you to it? Ever wish that everyone else would just leave well enough alone?

Being a creature of habit, that change has a way of flipping reality on its head, and believe me when I tell you that when this happens, my whole world shifts three inches to the right, and then, I do what I have written about a few times. I absorb, I adapt and then I advance towards the next item of change.

Yes, I get over it, but not without hesitation, and surely not without a heightened level of anxious scrambling to find the best possible route towards and through the item of change. Oh how I’ve had some moments of change these past few years, and oh how my first instincts have left me wondering why I listened to those first impulses of instinct, for often times, it’s usually the second, third or eleventh route of possibility that ends up making the most sense.

Trying times of tumult and chaos for one wandering goat. And always, my cane is at the ready to help guide me, and yes, the elbow of my dear wife has proven to be even more reliable, although she’s a little worried these days that with my shaky balance, I might topple over and end up breaking her elbow, or her shoulder, or her knee, or her ankle, or her neck.

As I am listening to the news on the radio, I’m thrown in with that never ending charade of change. Vote for me and I’ll change everything so it’s all better.

Um, huh?

I’m afraid that kind of change doesn’t ever change anything, and there we went again with the clock changes again last weekend. My wife joked that the clock in the car is right once again, until next fall anyway. “Grin” Why can’t they leave well enough alone, right? Daylight saving? Ok, I mean, we did gain an hour in the evening, but in case you didn’t notice, we lost an hour in the morning, so, like, um, didn’t they cancel each other out? Did I miss something? Do I look confused?

Let me refrain that.

Do I look more confused than I usually do?

There, that’s better.

Change is good, and change can be bad. Change is inevitable, and change is unstoppable.

Ok. Inevitable and unstoppable are sort of the same thing, right? Hello? Webster’s?

I am a creature of habit surrounded by a world of change. I love technological breakthroughs, and I love old fashioned chocolate ice cream. I am riding on a plane of endless existence, and the next stop is the rest of my life.

I hope my bags don’t end up in Sheboygan instead.

Once again, thank you for stopping by, and if you’re that sort of daring individual, why not go grab a bowl full of change. It might just be what you were hoping for, right?

 

2015 12 14 It Ain’t Easy Being Green December 14, 2015

It’s not easy being green, or blue, or lavender, or blind. It’s not the norm, the average, the trendy, or politically correct to not be able to see. It’s abnormal, variational, unusual and unconventional to be lightless, sightless, non visual or blind as a bat. Fact is, there isn’t much about it that I particularly care for.

A member of an email list I belong to offered their resolute opinion that even though I lost my vision rather rapidly, I should have been more prepared for the unexpected, that with my lack of preparation, I fell into a deep well along with those that didn’t take responsibility for their own lives, that I didn’t adequately take the steps to make sure that if I did lose my vision, that I’d be ready to take on a visual world with a mobility cane, a good concept of the Braille language and an abacus to figure out how much money I was spending while grocery shopping.

Huh?

I’m afraid no matter how I might have anticipated the hardships that life can throw at you, I would have been nowhere near as prepared as this person thought I should have been. Granted I wouldn’t be any further behind where I am right now, but chances are, I wouldn’t have been any further ahead either.

Oh ya, did I tell you? This person has been blind since birth, which in my eyes makes a huge difference. I’m wondering how they could have gauged where I, or those like me should be, I mean there’s got to be a huge difference on how you live your life when you’re born blind, compared to if you lose vision later in life, and suddenly to boot.

Ok, ok, ok, I’m starting to feel sorry for myself, and that’s my worst enemy. Self pity might feel comfortable at times, but he ain’t no friend of mine. He doesn’t do anything positive or constructive; he doesn’t listen to inspiration or cause admiration. He doesn’t lend a hand, except for reaching out to grab hold of an undeserving hand out, and he’ll never show you the right way to go, only the easiest route with the less obstruction possible. I guess “He”, could easily be, me. Fact is, he looks just like me on any number of days, because it doesn’t take me long to start feeling sorry for myself. A couple wrong turns, a jammed finger, a busted toe, a misplaced item, or one of those, “Now where did I leave it this time?” moments of pure non-clarity.

I can’t see much any more. A little sliver of light, a dull shimmer where a bright glimmer used to be, a darker than usual version of what dark looked like just a few months ago, and here I am, a blind billy goat on a mission to find a new way to live.

I’m sort of wanting to tell my wife that I’m sorry. I want to tell her that sometimes I know how hard I need to work at this blind thing. I want to tell her how much I love her for putting up with me, in all my cane sweeping glory. I want to say, thank you, and I couldn’t be as blind as I am without your guidance, support and love.

I also would like to say something to the person who thinks I dropped the ball. I’d like to let her know that outside of her own life, she has no idea on how to be me. She has no clue what it takes to live my life day to day. She has no clue, and therefore, although she might find this hard to believe, she is clueless.

I know what I need to do, and some days I’m able to do it better than other days. As long as I never forget what it takes, and what it’s taken, then things should work themselves out.

If they don’t, there’s always more chocolate.

Thanks for dropping by my blog, and as we head towards Christmas, take a second to look around you. The way that it is, exactly as it is right now will never, ever happen again.

Goat Be Gone.

 

2015 07 01 Almost Cut My Hair July 1, 2015

Almost Cut My Hair

It happened just the other day.

Actually, I did cut my hair, and it happened yesterday. Yes, it was getting kinda long, a few inches longer than is required to donate to an organization that takes donated hair and manufactures wigs for financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss from different medical diagnosis.

This is the first time I have attempted to grow my hair this long, and as my wife cut it yesterday afternoon, I decided that I would begin growing it out again. It’ll probably take a year and a half, or so, but with such a great cause, why wouldn’t I?

My wife has donated her hair several times over the past few decades, and I had always admired her for doing so. Her hair is incredibly thick and I would imagine they got a good head start on a finished product with each of her donations.

I was a little upset at the amount I was donating, for my hair has been falling out fairly quickly the past couple years. I’m not sure if it’s from the craniotomy I had done back in 2013 or not, but with this last double bout with a meningioma, the brain surgery and the radiation this past winter, I’m surprised I had any hair at all.

Anyway, I’m starting fresh, with a new hair cut, a new goal in mind, a fresh batch of apple sauce bubbling in the crock pot, and hopefully in 18 months, I’ll be chopping off my pony tail once again.

I woke up this morning and reached behind my head to do up my usual pony tail, but the hair was gone. I smiled as I reached in my mouth, took out my hair scrunchie, slid it in my pocket and tried to find my slippers at the end of the couch in the living room.

I am blessed beyond belief. Blessed that I have come through some health issues in fairly good shape, blessed for having an amazing woman stand by my side through the ups and downs, blessed to have an occasional piece of chocolate, blessed to still be able to attend college, blessed to have had the chance to meet some incredible people the past five years, blessed to have such an amazing family, immediate and extended, blessed to have my God to pray to every day, and I’ll stop right there for now. No use getting carried away, right?

I’ve written in here before how much I hate cancer, and there’s no doubt that I always will. The only good thing about cancer is that it sometimes points us towards an open heart, so that we may realize all of the truly beautiful things in our lives.

I am fortunate, as a cancer survivor, a cancer conqueror, that I’m still able to feel the warmth of the sun, hear the waves crashing on the shore, hear the wonderful voice of my grandson, and taste the magic of life itself.

I cut my hair just the other day, because it was getting kinda long. It was the best thing I have done in a while.

Thanks for stopping by and have a safe and wonderful Fourth of July.

dp

 

2015 06 20 Hate to Admit It June 20, 2015

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I get extremely frustrated with things. I mean, to the point when I’d like to open a window and chuck all of it out onto the front lawn and let Mother Nature have a go at it. I don’t like the feeling when I get in these moods, and some days, no matter how I try, I just can’t seem to shake all the crap out of my head.

Is this human nature? Is this me not being able to let go? Is this something that after nearly 55 years I still need to work on? How is that possible? How come after all this practice I’m not good at certain things like this some days?

I know, I know. Some of you are probably thinking what to write to me right now, trying to think what to say, thinking what golden nugget of experience you could slap down onto the table that would point me in the right direction.

Fact is, I would appreciate the hell out of any response that could find the magic potion, or remedy, or cure. Fact is, even if I had heard that profitable saying that did the trick, it would be like I was hearing it for the first time, even though I might have heard it a thousand times before.

I experienced one of these days just a few days ago. My insides were all bunched up into a tight little knot that would embarrass a boy scout for not being able to untie. From the early morning hours, I could sense that something was adrift and no matter how I tried, I couldn’t quell tide after tide of emotional swells that totally took control of me and drowned the ramparts with that unforgiving seawater that never sleeps as it eats away at whatever it touches.

That was just a few short days ago, and although I managed to find my pillow that night, I lie wide awake and turned over and over again the ravaged emotions that reminded me how human I am, and how much I have no control over.

I write a lot about how there is an opportunity within each hurdle we face. Inside days like those, with the bitter pills that I sometimes swallow are those carefully hidden sweet drops of nectar that keep my needle pointing north.

Now, if I could only remember if I’m supposed to be going north or not.

Thank you all and God bless every one of you. I always pray that I might keep paying it forward. I have received so much through my lifetime, so I’d better get on with it.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great night.

dp