Friday, May 20, 2011

The Long and Winding Road

I am Hank Olson. I was going to "give 'em hell." But I went out of the gates running, with false confidence, and I tired too quickly, and now I'm not quite sure if I'm really even walking anymore. I must be, because I'm not dead yet. All I know is that I'm not ready for the fight to be over. And as I gather the intestines tumbling out of my body, I just keep running. I finally stand, broken, and I throw my hands to the sky, and I shout, "I DID IT WRONG!"


I wish I hadn't gone to the school for the blind. There, I said it. It wasn't the wrong place, it was the wrong time. I am blind, from a legal standpoint, but the things I learned were for people who don't have any sight. None-none. I'll be there someday, but knowing what lies ahead has only tired me out. Knowing that I will have to live with my sense of touch, hearing, taste, and smell, has only made me hold on tighter to relying on my sense of sight, because, after all, it won't be there forever, so I should appreciate it while I can. Or at least, that's what I think I've been telling myself, in order to get myself to keep walking.

I am obsessed with things I can see. My kids faces. I look at them like it's my last time, every time. You might think it's sweet, or inspirational. It's not. It's morbid. I gain inspiration from beautiful skies. I define beauty with my eyes. I am holding tight to a rope that isn't attached to anything on the other end.

I don't want to know Braille yet. Learning takes a lot of practice. I was committed to at least ten minutes a day, until I realized that those ten minutes could be spent reading with my eyes. That felt like it made more sense. I'd spend those ten minutes on braille when my eyes no longer felt like interfering with their ease and vast superiority.

I don't want to organize my closet, or label my cans, or rely on a talking clock. I don't like turning on the assistive technology on my computer, even when I know I need it. I'd rather squint, and deal with the headaches, and maybe miss a few things, than admit that there is an end to my sight, later on down the road.

I signed up for educating and empowering myself because I wanted the prize at the end. I wanted the world to be my oyster, and I wanted to prove that blindness wasn't going to be the end of my story. I wanted to be the strongest and the best that I could be, because that's what people expect, if you're ever going to get on Oprah. But I didn't keep walking because I am excited for that life. I kept walking because I'm afraid of death. I am a coward. And I am doing it wrong.

I don't have any competition, except my own self. So how do I do this? If you're further along down the road, I could use a few pointers right now. I'm losing pace.


Becky said...

I'm trying to think of what to say that might be profound - ha. You are profound and I just want to have a 3-hour long lunch and chat with continuous refills of diet coke! Perhaps I am a little farther down this road but its such a difficult, roller-coaster, grief/joyful road. Each day we enjoy burdens and blessings from it all. I guess what I've learned is to listen to my heart and honor it when it is rebelling learning braille, when it is grieving a lost sighted moment, and find the joy when my heart is happy. We are thrown into such a grey area ... times of feeling SO blind, times of feeling sighted -- not really though and so many times of just searching for who we are and where we fit. Uncertainty is a given in life but told of some specifics of the uncertainty is an added trial in my opinion. So, all my rambling - I don't have any good pointers other than to be nice to yourself, have some good support of friends/family/others who understand and honor where you are at. xoxo. We had snow last night here so I'm sick of Utah maybe our lunch should be at your place :).

The Wizzle said...

I don't have any advice on the blind thing (how glib am I! "The blind thing"!) but just general what-I've)-learned about grieving the loss of anything or anyone, is that you just feel whatever you feel. There is no right or wrong. Everyone perceives and processes things differently, and you really just need to give yourself space and permission to feel whatever you feel and honor it.

(Incidentally, everyone else needs to give you this space too.)

I'm sorry for your troubles. It's just so miserably unfair. I guess that probably doesn't help your positive attitude thing, does it? Still true.

Keiko said...

Nee, I sense your panic and I feel for you. How could I possibly understand? You make me realize that there is so much we take for granted and so much we have is a gift.

meghan said...

I love your writing. You bring to tears to my eyes or laughter to my lips every time I open your blog. Thank you for sharing with courage.

Sarah Beau Bera said...

gahhhh who is Hank Olson?

Blind Enough said...

I am a legally blind single mom turning 40 in september. I love your blog. You're doing it RIGHT. You're being honest and doing it your way, that's right for you and don't worry the blindness will catch up with you whether you like it or not. And then, the big surprise, you'll try more things because you don't care what a fool you make of yourself and you'll realize you can't ever catch up to it - to the nothing, because something will always fill your space. Whether it's your sons laughter or the smell of his breath because he starts talking to you almost nose to nose.... It's okay. I agree with you about blind school. I didn't go growing up but went to a summer program last year and it felt wrong and foolish. I could not understand why you wouldn't acknowledge the sight we all had and teach us for the place we were at and the spot just around the corner. Because full blindness is long away for most of us, but it does catch up in quick little bursts that surprise you. This year I had a major loss and well, it surprised me. Thank you for blogging.