During our first year of marriage, I recall Hasan trying to hang curtains for me. He was legally blind at the time. He pretended to be able to see much more than he could. He tapped at the wall so gently. I thought he feared damaging the house. He could barely see the wall!! He tried to please me and didn’t want me to know his limits. He’s never been a handyman, but he always wants to be viewed as a man! Yesterday, I stood next to him and he called out for me. He couldn’t see me and we were in our closet! He used to be able to see a blurry gray-colored outline of people. Not anymore.
No one could have told me what I would experience as his wife. He did not know. Who knows what a blind lifestyle feels like until you live it? When he moves or walks through the house, he uses the same rehearsed footsteps. Familiarity helps him to see. When we’re apart and he has a need or can’t find something, we use Facetime. I can look around for him to try to guide him to what he needs. It works. Sometimes! He enjoys walking and insists on trying to get physical exercise alone at times. I’ve driven around looking for him, tears streaming, as it had gotten dark outside.I worry because he has fallen in ditches, fallen in the middle of the street and had his big sweet head badly scraped by tree branches he couldn’t see.
I have to be precise with his laundry so he can be self-sufficient. I despise laundry. Always have. I’ve had to adjust! I have to organize things for him. I’m not good at it! I always watch my tone when he calls for me. I never want him to feel his lack of sight is a burden. Never. EVER. I know I’ve come up short in this area. As long as tomorrow comes, we can try again. He’ll be blind tomorrow unless God cures him through the night.
I’m rarely a passenger in a car, but I drive for him, myself & the children daily. We hold hands a lot, but we also need to for safety. I’ve seen him stand in a store, eyes unfocused, calling my name because we separated somehow. I guide him through stores, crowds & to the mens restroom. Sometimes, a nice man will note our situation & lead the way.
I’ve learned to quickly estimate steps. I can gauge feet by sight to immediately foresee our path. This way I can say, “Four steps… landing… Four steps & bear to the right & walk 5 feet.” I have to do better about keeping up with his prescription refills. He can’t see how many pills remain. God willing, I’ll do better.
Visibility aids are expensive. Who knew living with blindness costs so much? Speaking of costs, we make sure he doesn’t carry cash. For him, it’s a risk. I now understand the reasons the millions of people with low vision keep a low-key lifestyle. Many remain at home. This sighted world isn’t user-friendly for them.
When talking to others, I have to be mindful they have sight & I can be more expressive with my facial gestures. While I surely feel emotion, I display emotion less on my face as he can’t see it. I spend so much time with a blind man. I find myself being very descriptive in my speech with everyone as I do with him. I like being animated! He can’t see my joy, sadness or tears. I’ve cried right next to him.I’ve cried while talking to him and looking directly at him. He didn’t know. I wiped my tears & moved forward. And none of us know what his experience has been. He told me, “I dream with sight and wake up blind.” I cannot imagine the disappointment of waking up to the world that promises so much and limits you, simultaneously. Your dreams feel safer, less judgemental and happier.
When we’re separated or right next to one another, I want him to locate me by finding my love for him.