Category Archives: Life Adventures

Doors

It’s been a while since I’ve written, and it’s mainly due to the fact that my focus on writing has been somewhat distracted. A lot has happened, and yet, not so much. Does that make sense?

In my own personal life, I’ve gone through so many things. But on the family front, it’s been just a waiting game.  What are we waiting for?

We are all waiting for me to get a job. I just recently graduated with a Masters in Special Education (no small feat, right?) and now looking to find a job where I can use my degree. I’m working hard to get everything done so I can apply for my teaching license. Looking for a job is a job in itself. I’ve had several interviews, and all were taken by others who are better qualified or have more experience. I’ve been applying to so many positions at so many different schools. I even ventured to other school districts near me.

It’s not easy being “in the air” and feeling discouraged by the lack of getting a job in what I’ve worked so hard for. It’s also vital that I find a job also because of the increasing cost of living in this city. My husband’s sole income isn’t enough to even stay at the apartment we are in for the next year. We’re doing the best we can, yet, it would be even better if I am able to help with the income.

Such is the world we live in.

It doesn’t help when I struggle to control the anxiety that creeps on me like a beast. I’m clinging onto the one hope and promise that I have.

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” – Matthew 6:26

It’s not easy, I’ll admit it! I am anxious and hoping to find a job soon. I have often wondered about applying out of state, but I keep telling myself, “When all efforts have been made here where I am at, then will I start looking outside this state.” Yet, I’ll still have to get some kind of job soon so we can keep our heads above water. That’s the hard part. What will that job be?

I do have one interview this Thursday, and its a job I would so love to have – I would be working and teaching other Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. It’s the ideal job for me, though I wonder if I’m needing a Deaf Education Masters degree. I won’t know until I go for the interview. If they can hire me with just my Special Education degree and give me the opportunity to work towards the necessary Masters degree, that would be utterly amazing and a completely God thing.

It’s hard to hope when the door has been closed on me so many times.

I know… I know… There’s that saying, “When one door closes, another will open.”

I’m just waiting for that door.


Upside-Down and Coming to an End

It’s been a while since I last wrote, but between working a part-time job, being a mother, trying to figure out a lot of things, and now, finally, student teaching, I’ve been a little sidetracked. This past fall and winter have been a tumultuous time for me.

I hope you didn’t miss my writing too much. I have to admit I have missed writing!

To begin to explain why I call it tumultuous, riotous, turbulent, or even stormy, I would need to begin when life began to become almost topsy-turvy… And it started in August. 

My plans for graduating in December with my special education degree was screeched to a halt when it was discovered my counselor did not prepare me or inform me to take the exams and apply for student teaching for the fall semester. I was supposed to have done that back in the spring. All they could do was, “Oops. You’ll have to take a semester off and do all of it now for the spring and begin student-teaching then.” Needless to say,  I was pretty upset. I had no choice but to take a semester off. At first, I thought it was going to be an uneventful time while I waited to begin back up again… Boy, was I wrong.

Two months later, I was heartbroken to find out I had lost a dear uncle to heart disease. 

Thankfully, I had the chance to fly out with my kids and be with my family to celebrate my uncle’s wonderful sense of humor, his love of God, and his amazing life. I am also thankful my kids had the wonderful opportunity to have met their great-uncle the summer before, and in how my son developed a really wonderful connection with him.

It shook his world to find out that his friend, his great-uncle, who loved to hear his ideas and stories, was gone. I told him, “He’s in heaven, and we’ll see him soon.” “Yeah.” he’d say somberly and then smile, “Then I can tell him all sorts of stories then, right?”

I told my kids of how fun he was when I was growing up, and how I recently discovered the pivotal role his family was in helping me get the diagnosis of my deafness. They encouraged my mother of how she could help me, taking me to the University of Arizona for testing,  which led to the beginning of how I became who I am today. Wow. God puts the right people in our lives at the right time, and now I am just finding out about it.

I had just been home two weeks from being with my family for my uncle’s memorial service when I heard the unexpected news that a wonderful childhood friend of mine had died. I had so many wonderful memories with him and had hopes of seeing him when I plan to go celebrate my graduation from my Master’s program. We had even talked once about having him do my hair, as that was his profession, when I was to meet up with him. It still feels surreal to know he’s gone. Yet, I am thankful we were able to reconnect when we did, even though it was virtually through Facebook.

Fortunately, Christmas was a blessed time with snow and my dad spending the special Holiday with us.  Yet, right about that time, I was beginning to feel another change was about to happen. It wasn’t in regards to student teaching in the spring… But it was  something related to what happened a little over 16 years ago.

A piece of glass, which a doctor, 15 years ago, couldn’t remove from my wrist, was left inside after an effort was made to remove it. The glass was from the windshield of the cars involved in the life changing accident a year before this moment. It was estimated there were five pieces of glass inside that part of my wrist, and he was able to remove most of them. I can remember him saying, “Glass is tricky. It hides in blood very easily!” He did try to get them all, but as he tried to find the last elusive piece, I could remember feeling the anesthesia wearing off. He decided that was better to let the body do what it does best. “Your body will work to get rid of it. We were able to get those other ones out because your body had pushed them up. It’ll do the same for that last one in time.”  I can remember thinking, “Oh, okay. Then I’ll probably see it come up in a couple of months and get it removed.”

In the beginning, I do admit I was nervous to have anyone rub that part of my wrist when I went for a manicure or when I wore anything tight around that wrist, but as time went by, I had begun to feel that it was always going to be a part of my body.

In the past several months, it had become something I couldn’t ignore. I’ll just say it’s not a very nice feeling, and it reminds me a bit of having a stone stuck in your shoe – But it’s one you can’t get out.

In the middle of all this happening, my husband recently moved into a job that works really well for him, but it had meant I would need to wait to be able to see a doctor, as a new job meant new benefits. He had been anxious for me, but I assured him I would be fine, since we saw that it wouldn’t take long to wait for benefits to kick in… But I’ll be honest and say it was hard to be patient!

Wearing a brace had helped decrease the pain, and I had to decide to hold off on doing any crocheting until it did get taken care of. That’s hard for an artist to do!

I had a really rough day, a week ago, with being so irritated with everything going on in my life, and the annoying pain in my wrist was beginning to feel like the one that would break the camel’s back. I had so badly wanted to vent and be irritated, yet I knew it wasn’t going to solve anything. Instead, I began to pray and ask God,

“What is it, exactly, that I need?”

I realized it was Strength and Patience.

“Yeah, you think?”I thought sarcastically.

I knew now I need the strength to stand as the turbulant winds blew around me, and patience to wait out the storm. The storm will end. Winter doesn’t always last. There is almost always the bitter hard storm before the first of spring comes, and I knew I had to learn to wait..

Today, I was finally able to go see a doctor about my wrist. I was afraid, after 16 years of living with this invisible “hitchhiker” in my body, that it really wasn’t there and it was all in my head. But, after the x-ray, I was able to see this piece of glass I have been waiting for years to be free of! A little 2 mm rectangular piece of glass sat on top of one of my wrist bones just under the very layer of my skin. “It looks like some nerves are sitting right above it, keeping it right there, and it’s causing you all that pain and numbness. We can easily get that out.” He decides, “We could even do it this coming Monday. How about that?”  I ecstatically signed, “YES!” My interpreter resounded my excitement as she interpreted for me.

My son, who was with me, said a really wonderful thing as we left the office. “Mom, on Monday, you can finally be done with that car accident.”

What an amazing thought. When Monday comes, I will no longer have to wonder when it would come out and, in a sense, release me to heal completely. It is an overwhelming peace in knowing it I can begin to heal COMPLETELY.  I know I will always have scars, but I will be thankful when I see them – It is through them I will remember of God’s grace, strength, and protection.


15 Years Ago…

Yesterday was a bit of a hard day for me to swallow.

I questioned myself many times, “Has it really been 15 years?” The memories are still strong in my mind. I still remember the fear, confusion, devastation, and apprehension.

I looked through my blog this morning and found that I had not written once about my experience. Why didn’t I? I guess I just never thought to do so.

I suppose I should.

I was living in Washington, DC, as a student at Gallaudet University.  As you can see, we could see the center of the city from our campus.

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It was not even a year since I had been dealt with a blow of a drunk driver had turned my world upside-down. My body was still healing, and my soul was still in torment. Though, I was definitely much better off than I was six months before, thanks to some friends who intervened and saved me.

That morning, at 9:00 am,  I was in my Analytical Chemistry Lab class getting ready to do an experiment, which I cannot remember to this day. One of my roommates was in the same class as I, and she began signing, “Something is going on! I can’t text anyone this morning!” She asked a few others who used the same text services as she did to see if they were having the same problem. I don’t remember their responses because the next thing I remember is seeing the Chemistry Department secretary come running in and exclaim, “Airplane crashed the World Trade Center!”

I was probably one of the few who DIDN’T know about the World Trade Center. Having grown up in Arizona, I didn’t bother myself with things of what was “important” to know about New York City.

“Class is canceled. Gallaudet is declaring the school to be closed. Go back to your dorms and stay on campus.”

We all took the stairs down from the 4th floor of what we called the HMG building and ran to the nearest tv to watch what was developing. I didn’t right away, as a friend came running to me saying, “The White House got hit, too!”

“What?!” I signed. I suggested we go to Benson Hall dorm, which had 8 floors, which could give us a good view of what was happening in the city. When we got to the top, we saw the black smoke billowing out from a point southwest from us. Another person corrected us by saying, “No, it was the Pentagon that was hit. A plane flew right into it.”

What was the world coming to?! I can remember feeling my heart in my stomach. I wanted to scream and cry at the same time… But I couldn’t.

I ran into my “cousin” (We shared the same Irish family name, thus dubbing ourselves cousins) and my then former boyfriend, who I am now married to.  We hugged. “Come on,” my cousin says, “let’s go to Father Jerry’s office. We can watch what’s going on there.”

The tall Italian priest, who knew of my torn and battered spirit, saw me and opened his arms to me. He knew I needed to cry. “Another plane went into the other tower.” He calmly tells us. I can remember feeling panic gripping in my chest, and it grew tighter as the news repeated the video of the second plane crashing into the second tower over and over.

Time stood still as I then watched the first tower crumble down into dust and envelop the city in its ashes. If the first one went down, we knew the second one would too. Sure enough, it did.

It is a bit cloudy as to what happened after that, but I vaguely remember someone saying we should go back to our dorms and stay there.

As I walked with friends back to my dorm, I could hear with my hearing aids of the eerie silence around us. I can remember noticing there weren’t any traffic sounds. I could only hear sirens going off from time to time from emergency vehicles driving quickly through the city.

I can remember trying to call my mom, but I couldn’t get through. As soon as I got to my dorm, I signed onto AIM, the popular instant messaging of those days, and sent a message to my mom, who happened to work at a place where she was signed into a computer the whole time. “I’m okay, Mom. I can’t call you as the lines seem to be tied up.” She was relieved and said many of her co-workers were concerned for me, as they knew I was in DC. “Call Grandma. She’s really worried about you.”

Grandma Jan… She was from the generation that witnessed Pearl Harbor, and she had her own personal experience from that time. I kept trying with the phone line and finally was able to get through to her. “I’m okay, Grandma!” I can remember hearing the relief in her voice. “This reminds me so much of the days when Pearl Harbor happened.” I shared with her of what was going on in DC and on campus. I can remember promising her that I would be staying on campus until it was deemed safe.

I tried calling a few other friends, left messages, and my former (at that time) boyfriend stayed with me for most of the day. We went over to the day school for deaf children to see if they needed volunteers, but it ended up they had more than enough and parents were coming to pick up their children.

The rest of the day I cannot remember. I do remember going back to classes the next day feeling like the world had changed. A few days later, I was able to go drive by the Pentagon and saw the gaping wound in the building. The creepy thing was it was still smoking. Embers still burned in parts of the building. “It’s all the jet fuel.” I was told.

The man who I wasn’t dating at the time, the former boyfriend, two weeks later lamented to me, “I love you. All that’s going on has made me realize that I don’t want to lose you.” Two months later, he proposed to me. We are to celebrate 14 years this November.

That, my friends, is my narrative of that fateful day.

 


One Word: Perseverance

As I am sitting here on my patio with my two cats and a cup of coffee. I have Rend Collective blasting into my earphones, and I’m reflecting on the past two months.

Let me just say this – It was crazy.

For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, two months ago I was in a car accident that crippled my SUV and damaged the front right end of my car. I’m still feeling the anxiety from that whole experience. I had no hearing aids on when it happened and flew into an anxiety attack as I knew this one little incident would make things messy.

Why?

My vehicle was my only way to help my blind husband to get around. With working on my Master’s degree, I still needed to get around to do my field experience hours, and with two kids, having no vehicle was going to be difficult, to say the least.

“Why not get a rental?”

Sure. That would make things so much easier, but I had made the mistake of not adding that to my insurance plan, and we weren’t in the position to be able to afford to rent one out of our own pocket.

I prayed they wouldn’t take too long to fix the car… But little did I know how much of a mess we were in.

It ended up being a case of severe case of mishandling by our insurance company, and being deaf didn’t help at all. The only people who really took care of us and respected our deafness/blindness was the body shop who worked on our car. (I also had friends who helped us get to the grocery store and brought us food when we needed it, too.)

It took EIGHT weeks to finally get our SUV back.

It was a long battle, and when I reflect upon it, I realize there will always be that battle for me. Being deaf means I have to fight every time I need to make sure I understand and am being understood in practically every situation.

That is exhausting. I questioned God, “Why? Will there ever be a time where I don’t have to fight to be understood?”

I had to fight to get some of my professors to understand my challenge of doing field experiences with no interpreter. I have had to resort to using my lip-reading skills and depending on my hearing aids, which isn’t at it’s best with the earmolds getting old.

Fortunately, I’m almost done with my field experience hours. I will be glad to be done with that.

I just have to worry about who will hire a teacher who is Deaf. Will I be understood and accepted?  Okay. I can’t worry about that right now, but it does poke back into my thoughts from time to time.

On top of all of this, I’ve been trying to lose weight and failing miserably. I need to lose it for health reasons, and it’s been a frustrating journey.

I had hopes that with having no vehicle that losing the needed pounds would be easier as I would be forced to walk, and walk, I did, but I didn’t lose anything.

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I realize now that it’s another thing I have to overcome.

I’ve been walking with my husband every morning to the light rail, and I have yet to see any loss. I keep telling myself it takes time… But it’s hard to have hope when you’re exhausted emotionally.

What do I do?

The only thing I know how – I hold on. Like everything else I’ve gone through, I will just push through and PERSEVERE.

Paul, my favorite writer in the Bible, puts it best in Philippians 3:14 –

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

It’s an uphill climb right now, but I have a small bit of hope right now. I’m going to hold on to that. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for one of my goals. I’m not far from graduating with a Masters degree and will soon be able to teach.

Today, I am taking a muchly needed respite and will be creative. I have some art in my head that needs to get out on a canvas.


Denver Comic Con: A Deaf/Blind Perspective

It’s a Sunday evening, and we arrived home from walking roughly a mile from the light rail to our home. It was a blazing 99 degrees outside, and it had reached 100 as a high in the city of Denver. It was definitely a very hot day for being out and about in the city.

Where were we? Well, if you haven’t figured it out from the title of the blog, then let me tell you – We went to Denver’s Comic Con!

I had the blessing of receiving passes for my family and I for all three days of the Comic Con event this year. I had not expected to be so generously blessed, and I was extremely thankful and grateful for the gift. What can I say?  I’m a geek and proud of it.

When we had heard we were having this opportunity, which was in January of this year, my son, who is 8 years old, immediately jumped into action and began to work on a Minecraft Creeper costume out of cardboard boxes and duct tape. I kept telling him, “The Comic Con isn’t until June! You have plenty of time to work on it!” The reason I was telling him this was because he was asking constantly for green and black duct tape for his project.

He had the right idea to start that early… I chose to make a dress two days before the weekend of Comic Con. It was fortunate we were able to find what we needed for my daughter’s Doctor Who costume at the thrift store, but I was, in no way, ready. A whole lot of the reason for this was because we have been without a car for the past three weeks, but that’s a whole different story to tell.

With a few hiccups in our schedule and a couple of late nighters, I managed to make a nice Doctor Who themed dress… Which ended up not fitting me the way I had wanted it to, but it mattered not. I wore it anyway and made it work! (I’m hearing Tim Gunn in my head as I typed that phrase.)

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The kids and I made it there in time to venture around and see some pretty cool costumes all around us. There was also a wide variety of props propped up for picture moments. I happened to grab some pictures of my kids and myself around a couple of them. My picture was naturally with a TARDIS. We also found a R2D2 that looked and moved like the one in the movie. I can’t tell you if it made any of it’s sounds as I couldn’t hear it.

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My husband had to work for a couple of hours while we were at the Convention, and it just happened his office was not too far from where we were. We met up for lunch and then headed back all together.

It was after this when things really got fun.

I had been anxiously wanting to watch a couple of panels for that day. I was also elated to find out that there were to be interpreters there as well. The first was with Cary Elwes, who is every woman and girl’s dream hero as his role of the Farm Boy/ Man in Black in Princess Bride. The stories he shared of his time on the set of the movie as well as a few others he had the privilage to be apart of. His stories of Andre the Giant taunting Cary to go ATV riding, which resulted in Cary breaking his toe right before the filming was to begin. He limped and improvised with this injury throughout most of the filming of the movie, and now I want to go back and watch it again to see if I can tell or not.

He even shared of his  moments of wanting to ride along a real storm chaser for the role he had in “Twister”, and his encounter of the F-3 that gave him the sudden realization of the stark dangers of Mother Nature and told the driver, “REVERSE!” In other words, he wanted the hell out of there and was done with his “research” for his role in the movie.

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The interpreters were amazing in expressing the story, and I was even able to capture some really awesome facial expressions from them.

The next panel was the one and only John Barrowman, a.k.a. Captian Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood, and Malcom from Arrow (The latter I am not familar with, to be honest).

Now, for those who don’t know him very well, I will say he is a very loud and flamboyant character. At first, I was a little surprised by him, but I found that I actually love his loud personality.

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He came out in a dress, black high heels, and a black wig and danced around the stage. He saw the interpreters and immediately began to become more interactive with them. He made farting noises. He gave a long one, and watched the interpreter sign “fart” with the expression of how long it was. “Oh, I’m going to have fun with this!” He gave a small high pitch fart sound, and the interpreter showed the expression for it. I was dying. “Oh! Lets try this!” He gave a really interesting one and watched the interpreter recipicate it through sign. “Oh, that’s how we fart at home.” he added.  I was laughing so hard. I looked over to see my kids howling, especially my son who loves to do the same thing John was doing.

He then introduced his husband as he asked for some regular clothes. I will tell you, John is skilled at changing his clothes on stage without making it look awkward.

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At this point, he was taking questions from the audience, and my husband, who loved him as Captain Jack Harkness and had been watching Doctor Who with me before his sight had grown worse, went up to ask him a question. It was his turn, and he said, “Hello, John. I just want to say you’re probably one of the few actors I have been able to see before losing so much of my vision.” The audience reacted to this, and it made my heart break, as he has not been able to watch anything on TV or any movies since his vision had gotten worse around two years ago. “My question is, what was it like dancing with Billie Piper in that episode you did with her?”  John came across the stage and asked my husband to come closer. “How much time do you have left before it’s completely gone?”

“It’s probably between five to ten years, give or take.”

“Oh, you have plenty of time, but just in case…” John grabbed my husband’s hand and guided it across his face and, in a joking way, to his butt. There was roaring laughter as John went, “Oops! Well, you won’t forget that, right?”

(BELIEVE ME… I so wish I had a picture of this moment!)

I had tears in my eyes. Not from laughter. It was from pure joy that my husband was having an amazing experience.

At that moment, I remembered a question I had for him. When I finally had a chance, I went up with my interpreter. I asked him, “Hi. I am deaf, and I wanted to ask you about what, with the fact you had that opportunity to experience being deaf for a day, took from it as an actor? What kind of impact did it have on you afterwards?”

He was able to, from a hearing person’s perspective, of what it was like for him. He even shared how isolating it was and how he understood that it was very common for deaf people to struggle with this. He he also said he learned that it was so important to look at a deaf person to make sure they understand what is being said, just in case they can lip-read. “Is that right?” I nodded and signed loudly, “YES!” He then added an amazing piece of news, “In fact, my sister and I have been writing a series of books, “Hollow Earth”, and one of the main characters is deaf.” My interpreter and I were elated! I signed, “YES! Finally!”  Deaf characters are hardly written about, from my experience, in the fiction world.

The rest of his panel was filled with laughter, and I left there with a headache from all the laughing I had done.

The next day, we went back to venture around the convention floor and see about going to one more panel. On the convention floor, there was an area where you could get in line for an autograph of a wide variety of celebrities. There was a fee for it, which some of the money went for raising funds for raising literacy through using pop culture. My daughter had saved some of her money she had earned to be able to get her favorite actress’, Jenna Coleman, who plays Clara Oswald in Doctor Who, autograph on a drawing she did of a TARDIS. “That is very good!” Jenna said in a thick British accent, as my daughter told me later. I couldn’t hear her voice very well. It made her little 11 year old heart jump with excitment.

 

My husband then signed to me, “Hey, since you’re going to go get John Barrowman’s autograph, why don’t we let our daughter get his autograph on her drawing, too?” I thought that was a great idea. We got in line and waited for a while until he and his troupe finally did show up. Once we got up to seeing him, John recognized my husband and shook his hand again. He asked my daughter, “Do you sign for your mom?”  “Yeah, I do, but I don’t for my dad since he can’t see.” He laughed and smiled. “Of course not!” He told me when I told him I was planning on getting his books, “You can get a link to a website from the book to learn BSL.” “Oh, that’s awesome!” I said, “I want to learn BSL since I want to go to London some day and meet some deaf people there.  I only know how to sign ‘Doctor who’ in BSL.”  “What is it?”  I showed him what I knew. I then showed him how to sign it in ASL. He loved it and copied me before finishing signing my poster. I signed, “Thank you.” and walked away.

We went to the “Women of Doctor Who” panel, featuring Jenna Coleman and Alex Kingston, which was something my little girl was anxious to see. It was so good, but it wasn’t as funny as Cary and John. Sorry, ladies.

Our day ended on a high note as we walked out of the main stage to an area where some displays were, including a row of vehicles from movies. One was of the truck from Twister. I told my husband and he was elated to know it was there.

“Its the the truck that crashed in front of the red truck, freaking out the therapist.”

“Oh, wow. I wish I could feel it, since I can’t see it.”

I didn’t even hesitate as I told him, “Wait here.”  I walked over to the table for the vehicle display and asked the gentleman sitting there, “My husband is blind, and I was wondering if there was any way he could be able to touch the Twister truck. Could he?”  To my surprise, the man immediately starting to get up with a huge smile on his face, “Yes! Of course! That’s my truck!”  He came over and took the chain down and let me lead my husband to the truck. The gentleman came to my husband and introduced himself and began to explain what my husband was touching. “Oh, let me show you where Dorothy is.” He led my husband to the great device that was a key part of the Twister story. There was a huge smile across my husband’s face.  “I can see it in my head as I’m touching it. I can remember what I had seen in the movie.”

There’s so many little things that happened during the Comic Con, but these were the highlights… I have a feeling this geeky and nerdy family is going to be returning next year.


Moving at His Own Pace

Lately, I have been so amazed at my husband.

I struggle with my own monsters in life – Anxiety, Depression, Deafness, and other little things.

But, I look at my husband, and his resilience amazes me. He doesn’t always have a positive outlook on his growing blindness, but he still fights through.

Yesterday, as we walked three miles to our favorite shopping center, he walked along side me, laughing and teasing me as he held my hand while using his other hand to feel the path before him with his cane. He didn’t depend on me completely, but my eyes and words of what was going on around us just supplemented what he had sensually.

Before we had begun the walk,  I noticed him focusing intently as he stepped down the stairs of our apartment. I thought, “He must be counting the steps.” I counted as well. When we reached the ground level, I shared my discovery of each flight being 6 steps. He then shared, “Yes, and the very bottom one in the back flight of stairs has 7.” I never knew that.

An ambulance siren went off by us, I couldn’t hear it, but he did. I could see it, and I told him what direction it went and guessed which hospital it was probably heading. He agreed and hoped it was not a serious situation.

He signed to me, as I had left my hearing aids out. The warm day and the sweat that would likely come makes it hard to keep my loose ear molds in, thus making it even harder to hear. “Leave them out,” he encouraged, before we headed out for our hike. “I can sign, and the kids can, too. You can put them in your backpack and put them in once we get to the mall.”

He wasn’t afraid of my Deafness, and it was fortunate that I could speak clearly enough despite it. That was a huge asset for us, although, he kindly informed me in a tease, “You sound a bit like a pirate when you talk without your hearing aids.”

“Argh!” I teased back. “Now I just need to dress like one!”

My kids loved the idea… Maybe one day, I will.

An overgrown bush edged the sidewalk, and his hand was on my shoulder as I guided him through the narrow passage way. “Duck!” I ducked down to let him feel just how far down he needed to go to avoid the overgrown branches. We cleared it. “They really need to trim those branches on that bush!” I exclaimed.  His exasperated expression showed his agreement. Running into branches unaware is not something he liked doing.

We walked and I shared with him of the scene around us. He was having a good vision day and could see bright colors, but no definite shape. “The sky is so blue! I’m loving it! I haven’t seen such a blue sky in so long.” It’s moments like this where I remember to appreciate my sight.

I notice horse manure on the sidewalk, and I tell him. It wasn’t too surprising to see this, as there was a horse showing arena not far where we were. He laughs, I didn’t know why. I was chuckling for a different reason, though I don’t remember what for. He later told me of something the kids had said of the discovery of the horse manure on the sidewalk. “Who pooped in the middle of the sidewalk!?” one of them had said. It was my turn to laugh.  I tell them, “It’s horse poop!” My daughter looks at me precariously, and signs, “A horse walked this way?  Why?” I reminded her of the Rodeo/show grounds now far from us. “Oooh.” She signed. “That makes sense.”

My husband then signs to me that my eight year old son is cracking jokes about poop. I rolled my eyes. He’s being such a typical boy.

We get to the shopping mall, and I tell him of a new Italian pizza place that opened up. “Want to try it?” I ask. He signs back, “Sure!”

At the restaurant, I described to him what the place looked like, and we shared an amazing pizza, which the kids each had their own opinion of the Italian flair of their American favorite. My husband and I loved it. His sense of taste and smell had heightened since he lost his vision. He signs to me of what he can taste and can smell. I smiled. My sense of smell had long been muted to many sinus infections, and I appreciated his perspective.

At home, he can’t do a whole lot, but he does try.

He helps by doing his laundry, which he has a system to doing. He washes his shirts and pants separately. I help him fold his clothes in the way he likes it. He wears only black and white shirts and has only five to six button up shirts for work. His shirts are alternated black and white, and I tell him which one is on the top so he knows. When he hangs up his shirts, I tell him which one I give him, and he hangs them in order of the days he likes to wear them.

Lately, he has also been exploring his Scottish heritage, and he will ask me to search for something online. I will find a site and share with him in what I find. I read out loud to him, and if there is a picture, I try to describe it to him.

This is one thing he struggles with. He wishes he could see pictures. Even when he inverts the color, which works well for him when he wants to read something enlarged, the pictures don’t look like something he can recognize. Even a picture I took of him, he struggles to see. “Do I look good?” He asks. “Of course, you do!” He had lost a tremendous amount of weight over the past year. I was proud of him for doing so. I explained this to him. “Even my hat looks good on me?” I can tell he struggles with his image. How can you not when you can’t even see yourself?

Another thing about him that I admire –  He is still working. He has kept his job for the past ten years, even despite his gradual vision loss. They’ve, thankfully, been accommodating.

Yet… He’s facing another mountain now. He might have to look for another job, which scares him. He is fighting despite it. He is also now accepting the truth. “I am going blind.” He shudders at the thought of not finding something he can do with his blindness. He hates the thought of going on Disability, but he’s now realizing that might be a reality.

Despite all he’s facing, I still admire and love him. He is trying, and there are people out there who won’t try as much as he does while having a disability.

As I end this… I ask you to please pray for him. Keep him in your thoughts. Ask that God will lift him up and give him hope. He has yet to experience that.

Thank you.


Finding my Safe Place

Today was a rough day for me. Allergies bombarded my senses in the worst way. I struggled to hear, even with my hearing aids on. Breathing was harder as I felt my chest feel congested, which set off other symptoms leading to anxiety.

I felt my heart beating harder and harder as I tried to lipread the speaker at the mom’s group I was at. I couldn’t talk when the other moms began to discuss what was going on. I felt like I wasn’t there. I got up to get a breath of fresh air with hopes of calming my racing heart. I got myself something to drink and finally resorted to taking some medicine to calm the symptoms.

It seemed like I wasn’t there. No one noticed.

I quietly picked up my purse and left.

I admit, I was angry.

I am an introvert in the worst way. I don’t feel like imposing myself on other people. I just wait for people to approach me, and when I drove home, I couldn’t understand why people couldn’t approach me.

After having a cuddling time with my cat, who seemed to know that his mama was not feeling good, I wrote an email to my husband, who works from a computer all day. His response was very encouraging.

“… always remember that they are humans as well, … forgive them…” 

He reminded me that those women didn’t know what was going on. They can’t read my mind or read my body like I can. I probably can hide an Anxiety Attack pretty well.

I couldn’t bring myself to open myself up to them and share my struggles. There are times I wish I wasn’t that way.

He also reminded me that the reason for some of them not approaching me is because of their possible intimidation of my deafness and my partial blindness (I can’t see in the central part of my right eye, and it has caused it to become “lazy”). He deals with it all the time with his blindness. People don’t approach him to be a friend but to “help”. They pity him, and all he has wanted was someone to talk to and be a friend with.  He has it harder, as it is not an invisible disability, but he probably has a good point.

I am just writing this as a gentle reminder for my readers to think about your introverted friends or even those who have a disability. Maybe they’re in the same place I am and don’t know how to share those deep struggles. As much as I do, they need to know of a safe place to share those struggles with.

Be a safe place for them.

Thank you.