Losing your Independence

by Donna Brown

The first questions for anyone that has had a disability would be "how or can I be independent and take care of myself alone?" and "how can I prevent illness or accident?" When a child with a disability has someone they can depend on, until becoming adults, then it depends on how much they wish to be independent as they grow. One day the question will arise as to whether a child or even a parent(s) who may have a visual or physical disability may need to be placed in assisted living or a school for the blind. We know what to do for anyone who gets Alzheimer's. Could it be the same for the blind?
A person of any age who develops a fatal disease may linger for years in pain. But the blind are blind forever. There are people that live a good and comfortable life with a disability even though there may be some humiliation, along with embarrassment and frustration. If there were a choice, I would imagine that most people would choose suffering with humiliation over suffering with pain. Then the questions begin: "why me?" and "why can't God stop the suffering?" or "why did I have to go blind?" Those are normal questions. Activities, along with new medicines, help to give us longer lives, but some medicines may cause loss of independence and are really no help to return sight. We may have to watch the deterioration of a loved one who is blind, and will have to face that there is no cure at this time. For the most part, people are able to be independent longer and expand their lifestyles when knowing the truth.
And people should be given the truth. The field of disability medical research has grown tremendously in the last decade, and there are advances happening all the time.
When we are able to be independent longer and expand our lifestyle, or change and make a new or different life for ourselves before our time is up on this earth, we must live as well as we can with good health and trust in the hearts of others. It doesn't take the knowing of an ongoing disability to break a heart; it is the unhappiness in how you are living. So to live a full life, plan and make that change. If you have someone to care for, love can be strong enough to withstand almost anything, and the heart will keep beating through many crises and will take much pain until it is broken. Being independent does not mean trying to change others to your liking; it means a person should have the right to have equality in their life with good health and love in the heart.
A totally blind person learns somewhat differently to cope with everyday happenings and other people and their reactions to the loss of sight. It is keeping one's self-respect and courage, and the understanding of how a blind person manages. When you lose one of your senses, a person of blindness becomes more totally sensitive in most cases. That is why love is the answer: to give strength to carry on, with the burdens of life.