“Hannah!” I hear my husband holler as he holds his head in pain. I see the reason for the outrage – I left the cabinet door open again, only this time he went right into it. Oops. I forgot he was that tall and can’t see it.
Am I being insensitive? No, I didn’t always have to deal with the vision loss that he has now. It’s a huge adjustment for me, and I constantly forget as I am the only one around here most of the day doing my daily things… Still carrying out my bad habits of leaving the cabinet doors open. But I’m trying hard to change that!
When we first got together, I knew he had some vision impairment, as did I. I lost most of my sight in my right eye when I was eleven years old, and it never stopped me from doing a lot of things in life. When I met my husband, I figured it would be the same, but little did I really know what I was getting myself into. But then again, Love is blind… Ironically.
I married him despite the warnings of the hardships it would be in marrying someone with a vision impairment greater than my own with my hearing loss. He was hard of hearing as well, so we understood each other in being able to sign. We figured we would make it work, and it was doing great until a few years ago. He started seeing less and finding things looking stranger as he would look at things. The doctor confirmed our worst fears – His sight was degenerating. At first, I felt like a caged animal screaming to get out. No, God, no… this can’t be happening to me!!
Of course… I’d start thinking of me first. How human of me. I didn’t think about him and how difficult it was for him. He surrendered his right to drive, began to use a cane, and needed another pair of eyes for many of the simplest things in life to help him.
After a lot of hardships over the years and near break-ups in our marriage, God constantly got my attention and reminding me of some important things about relationships. Marriage takes guts to make it work. It also takes depending on Him when I feel like I can’t deal with it. It isn’t easy dealing with someone going through a very big life change on his own, yet, it does effect the family as a whole. It takes accepting change to make it work sometimes.
I find myself learning how to direct him when we walk in the store, “Turn right here. Turn left. ” He uses a cane to help him feel around him, though he’s not completely blind yet. He once explained it to me that he’ll walk into the room and see something across the room, but he’ll not see the chair right in front him. I have to try to remember that sometimes. Recently, I knew things were definitely changing when he would walk into the room and not see me a few feet away from him. I’d have to either touch him or let him know where I was by telling him so. I can talk and hear enough with my hearing aids, so that is a benefit for both our sakes. Yet, I’m deaf enough that he will use sign to communicate with me, but sometimes, I cannot sign back to him since he can’t see me. I will find myself talking back to him in response. The hardest part is when he takes his hearing aids out. I have to get right by his ears and tell him something I need to. One of these days, I think we’ll need to learn tactile sign, but that’s another huge step to take. He’s not quite sure if he’s ready for that yet.
We’ve talked about an eye seeing dog, but with us living in a small apartment, it wasn’t an acceptable idea for him as he felt he would be overwhelmed with caring for a dog on top of working the many hours he does at the law firm he works out. He sees enough to work on computers, which his work has given him equipment sufficient to help him be able to enlarge things for him to read easier. Will it always be this way? I don’t know. I will admit, at first, I was bull headed with the idea of going back to work as I loved being a stay at home mom for my two kids, but now I realize it may end up with my needing to work in order to take care of this family.
My kids have even begun to learn how to function around their dad, as my oldest daughter will warn him where she is at times. The only thing I’m constantly on them is to make sure their toys are picked up so he wouldn’t trip on them. So far, I the one who can see pretty well, has been the first to trip and fall over my kid’s toys. I’m glad it was me and not my husband! They are still young, as my daughter is going into first grade soon, and my son is one year away from going to school himself.
Do I think it’s going to get easier later on now that we’re figuring this out now? I don’t think so. There will be new challenges and struggles as we go through this as a family. But I know we’re not doing this alone. I have found a support system with my church, family (even though they’re over a thousand miles away), and, ultimately, God. The promise of Philippians 4:13, ” I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” is enough to ensure that I can do this.
If anything can be said as true, its all that I’ve gone through in my life, in this and everything else God has allowed, I’ve become stronger because of it. I’ll just say to the future,
“Go ahead… Make my day.”