by Pamela Berman
Hello G-d! My name is Pamela Berman, but of course, you know that (smile). I appreciate you taking the time to hear me out today. You know this blindness thing you’ve bestowed on me is really quite an irritant. I know I was diagnosed at 7 years old but why has it taken me pretty much the past 40+ years to adjust? You know, I feel I have to ask you but in another way, I feel I know the answers. So, I guess you can call that a rhetorical question. I don’t like being blind, that you know, but it’s only because I so want to experience all of the beauty & greatness you’ve created in this world or am I just nosey & a busy body needing to see everything…grin !
That said I must say thank you so very much for the greatest gift of all—my children! My boys are the most amazing people I’ve ever known & to think that I gave birth to them just awes me every time. Maybe sometime if you have an opportunity, you could give me a sneak peek at my boys? Shh…I wouldn’t have to tell anyone (smile). No! Who am I kidding? I’d want to tell everyone! I don’t really need to see my boys, for I don’t need eyesight to see what they are really about. You gave me the perfect partner in Mary to raise children. Our boys are the perfect parts of both of us. That is so incredible I don’t know how you did that but Thank You! It’s just like how you’ve matched me to the perfect guide dog. I don’t know how that’s done either but it is magical…just like Excel or Disney World! There is so much badness in the world & it’s so easy to go there & feel sadness & depression. I know that in the past, that could be an easy task for me, but not who I am & not how I want to be thought of.
I just want to tell you thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for the life you’ve bestowed on me & the journey you’ve allowed me to take. Some of it wouldn’t be my choice if I had one, but the lessons I’ve been learning & the knowledge I’ve come away with is so incredibly rewarding. I’d have to say that my most favorite thing you’ve given me is the wonderful people that I get to meet; from my parents & grandparents all the way to the homeless man on the street who helps me find my way. Your job must be such a difficult one & one I would never want to undertake. I want you to know I’m appreciative & think you’re doing an amazing job…Thank you!!
Pamela Berman has had retinitis pigmentosa since childhood. She is active in the blind and sighted community and loves children. She lives with loving her partner, Mary of 20 years + and 2 awesome sons. Pam’s essay comes from the 2nd writing workshop she attended at Second Sense blind service organization.
by Valerie Moreno
all I perceive
is swept away-
every anchor lost,
life fact dulling
first to smokey swirling gray
ending in still, crushing black
World upside down,
I am suspended
just beyond my reach…
nothing but absence
for all I have lost,
the brilliance of sky,
fullness of sun,
the sparkle of love
in someone’s eyes.
Heavy endless black
I can never replace…
like church bells
in moaning wind,
a flicker of last embers
of a dying fire,
on a sea,
I search for clarity
in tar-thick isolation
Valerie Moreno is 59 and a published writer. She writes poetry, memoir, fiction and articles. Her eye disease is ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity. Some favorite hobbies include reading, raised line drawing, music and singing.
by S. Krishna Kumar
Poem 1. CRASH AND CRY
I heard a crash
Crash that pierced the air
Ripping the dead silence of the hour.
Darting into the dining room
I eyed a sorry spectacle
Of my little blind daughter
Standing near the dining table sobbing
For the glass of water she touched
For the noise she made
Breaking the glass into thousand shards
Water all over the floor
Tears all over her face.
Crash that rent the silence
Cry that rent my heart.
Poem 2. LETTER TO THE LETTER TORN NEAR THE TRASH
You’re a child of a hasty delivery
By a stony automaton a mother
Who put you to the waste
With an equal haste that she delivered you.
You had your mother’s life in you
As she had yours in hers;
You were sent to represent that life
As your mother doubtless believed you’d do.
She knew not you were destined to land in hazard
To grope like a blind beggar in alien streets
In search of the actually intended
Accursed be the malignant who delivered the fake address!
Fearing you’d spoil her name
Should you approach her doorstep,
Your mother became a murderer
And tore you to pieces near the trash.
You weren’t followed by another child
Lest he too should follow you to the same
Why to bear someone
If he is to be burdensome?
Poem 3. ON EVERYONE’S BLINDNESS
Echoing footsteps amid fallen dusty leaves
With an endless noise of creak and squeak
Breathing life into the deserted corners
Site pitch dark, a temple of footless eidolons.
Wind’s howl reeks of a ghost’s breath
Freezing Damp soaks the scanty fire
Being visibly absent, something nails its
Mighty presence into one’s vulnerable veins.
He’s afraid of his own shadow
Which is his past that continues him from behind
Always there aback, haunting him to the grave
He isn’t able to eye it vis-a-vis.
Letters of dark tales can’t be read
When they’re written all in black blood
The shadow at his heels can’t be spotted
As there’s no light to distinguish it.
The walker waves his hands so frantically
As to touch what lay ahead
But nothing tangible sits in his finger web
Sheer dark outsounds the rattle of his heart.
S. Krishna Kumar lives in Salem, Tamil Nadu. He succumbed to vision impairment in 2003 at the age of ten due to Stephen Johnson’s Syndrome, a disease triggered by the prescription of wrong medicine. Krishna graduated B.A. English Literature from Loyola College, Chennai. His chief interests are reading books, writing poems etc.
by Audrey Demmitt
(Note from Stella @ Vision Through Words** We are doing our 2nd creative writing workshop called Words Wide Open at Second Sense blind service organization. This sounds like a great exercise in relaying a mood, an idea, a story in the precisest way possible. Give it a try yourself!) A story in fifty words…no more…no less.
The Daily Post Challenge: Fifty.
Tensely gripping the armrests, she received the ophthalmologist’s proclamation. The weight of it slammed into her chest.
“You will lose your vision…nothing can be done…”
He placed the heavy mantle of loss over her shoulders and a darkness settled upon her.
“Go now and live your life…” he said dispassionately.
Audrey Demmitt was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at age 25 and has been legally blind since 1994. She has used a guide dog for the last three years. She is a retired school nurse. Audrey lives in Georgia with her husband and three adult children. See more from Audrey at her blog: Seeing Possibilities.
by Jeff Flodin
I like to tell stories. I like to tell stories of how I used to struggle so much with blindness, of how I fought it at every turn until I received the grace of acceptance and that has made all the difference. That kind of thing makes for a nice story.
At the end of these stories, I reach a conclusion. The conclusion wraps up the loose ends of the story and spells out the lesson I learned while living whatever it was that has turned into this story. It brings symmetry and balance and puts a pretty bow on the whole thing.
In writing stories, I am seduced into thinking that I am reporting my past, writing about things long ago and far away. “That’s how I used to be; I am different now.” And I get compliments about how far I’ve come. I get affirmed and I get validated.
It’s easy sometimes to think that the past is behind me, that, with these stories, I am reporting my history. But my history is my present. I am still in the midst of this. I still have eyesight. That means I still have eyesight to lose.
And that means I’ll have more stories to tell. And I have found a voice as a blind person, a voice that I never had before. Stories are what I can create out of this poker hand that life has dealt. I can write about what life on life’s terms means to me. I can’t change it but I can write about it.
Losing that last glimmer of eyesight scares the hell out of me sometimes. But I’ve come this far and I’m doing better now than ever. Maybe it won’t happen, maybe it will. Whatever happens, it’s sure to make a damn good story.
Shared from Jeff’s blog, Jalapenos in the Oatmeal (Archive12/3/2012). Jeff Flodin and Stella De Genova are facilitating the second creative writing workshop at Second Sense blind service organization. Jeff will be sharing his writing tips, experiences and knowledge with participating writers. He’ll also discuss the therapeutic benefits of writing and have everyone think about writing from negative and positive perspectives.