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September 8, 2007

disABILITY: Perception, not sight, important in life

Would you rather be deaf or blind?

That was a question posed on a website I was on recently.

Most of the people who commented had zero faith that life would be worth living if they had to lose one of the two senses. I found the comments about blindness so interesting, though.

I’m always curious what people think of the life that someone like me is living.

Many of the comments expressed some degree of fear about blindness and others were grumbling ignorantly about everything that blind people can’t do.

Nobody had anything but negative things to say about blindness, and I felt a strange twinge of amusement mixed with disgust as I read through it all.

I know, I know. It’s scary to think about going blind.

I was scared when I was younger. Blindness was inevitable for me, although the doctors couldn’t even begin to predict when it would happen.

I’ve been totally blind now for 11 whole years. And, it’s been more like 13 years since I had any real, meaningful, useful vision.

So, maybe I’ve just completely lost my ability to understand how scary the concept seems to a person who hasn’t had a firsthand encounter with loss of his or her vision.

Let me just begin by saying that being blind doesn’t mean that your life or your dignity is taken from you.

It doesn’t mean that you will forever be dependent upon someone else to take care of you.

It doesn’t mean giving up your dreams nor your favorite pastimes. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you lose the meaning and essence of life itself.

I’m certain that some people in this world, after going blind, will never leave their houses out of fear.

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