Tag Archives: love

When Love Opened My Eyes

14 Aug

by Francesca Marinaro

A warm blanket of sunshine enveloped me; horse-drawn tourist carriages clip-clopped along the cobblestone streets. My boyfriend brushed away a strand of hair that the breeze had whipped across my face as we sat on a bench in the center of St. Augustine, Florida’s historic district, where we were spending spring break. As penniless graduate students, our options consisted of someplace within driving distance offering affordable hotel accommodation with free breakfast. I’d have spent the week on a slippery rock in the middle of the sea; the magic of a romantic getaway had, for me, always existed in novels and Hollywood rom-coms. If not for the warmth of Shaun’s arm across my shoulders, I might not have believed the dream had become a reality.

I lifted my head when the ring of church bells wafted toward us.

“Do you hear that? It must be coming from the cathedral.”

“Yeah, I think it is,” said Shaun, consulting his map. “Do you want to check it out?” I considered; my non-religious boyfriend had recently survived my best friend’s Catholic wedding, and I thought he’d served his penance.

“Only if you want to,” I said finally. We sat in companionable silence for several more minutes until Shaun reached for my hand.

“We should go. It’s your faith. It’s important to you. I get that.”

The church was empty save for the two of us.

“I should tell you what it looks like in here. There’s this old leather Bible—it looks really old—on the altar, with what looks like gold etched around the pages, and a crucifix of course. I think it’s made of wood, and it’s really intricately carved.”

I remember little of his actual description, but I can still feel the warmth of his touch as he held my hand, conjuring a picture of our surroundings as he whispered into the silence. I remember the prism of light filtering through the stained-glass window and dancing across our linked hands, and I marveled at how the simplest act could invoke such love. I loved Shaun in that moment not because he knew all of the words to the Donald Duck theme song or willingly sat through a viewing of “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” I loved him for the way he held my hand and lent his voice to describing the world around me as easily as he talked to me about work or our respective dissertations, because my visual impairment was a part of, not a hindrance to our relationship.

The passage of two years and an eventual breakup have yet to dull this memory. It shimmers in my heart, an effervescent soap-bubble of hope. The challenges of dating with a disability are all-too familiar to many of us, but Shaun opened my eyes on that spring morning to a glaring truth that had often eluded me—in my moments of self-doubt—that I was, and am, worthy of being loved.

Francesca Marinaro was diagnosed with Lebers in her infancy and lost her usable vision as a teenager. She currently lives in Florida with her Yellow Lab guide dog, Zeus, and works as a freelance writer and teacher. Her writing has appeared in numerous online publications including Lifehack.org and the Living Blind Blog. You can visit her website at http://www.fmarinaro.com.


Someone to Love

6 Apr

by David Flament

I had an interesting thought on my commute to work this morning.  What is it that Freddie Mercury said, “Can anybody find me someone to love?”  As the lyrics to that Queen song ran through my head, I put some serious thought into it.  After all we all do need someone to love.  For some, love is as easy as breathing.  For others like me, it is a lifelong struggle.

Why is it that for some they can meet someone and just fall in love and for others it is so difficult?  I have reached middle age never having been married and only having been in a few serious relationships.  Of course, part of it may be that it has to be the right person.  I do not mean the perfect person, but at least someone that you have the right chemistry with.  You know, someone that moves you.  Perhaps for some there are plenty of people that make them feel that way.  For me, it does not seem to be that many.

For those with a disability, how much does that impact our search?  With vision loss we may not be able to just go to a singles bar and meet someone, and what are your chances of finding Mr. or Miss Right at a singles bar anyway?  Much of meeting someone seems to be done with non-verbal communication.  You know those signals people send showing their interest and availability.  Well, depending on your level of vision loss you may not be able to pick up those signals.

Finally, I do believe in the old saying there is someone out there for everyone.  I am just wondering if everyone manages to find that someone.   What do you think?

David Flament is the lead instructor for all training classes and workshops on adaptive technology at Second Sense blind service organization.  “I love technology and want to share my passion — working with our clients is the most rewarding part of my job.”  David’s teaching philosophy follows an old Chinese proverb: “Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.” He will do his best to help students understand the materials and he expects them to do their best to learn.  David has a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Northeastern Illinois University.

Thoughts of Love

14 Feb

by Dr. Seuss – a true visionary

You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.


Use Your Love to See

27 Nov

by Stella De Genova

Love makes the world go ‘round . . .

Love is all you need . . .

I believe in love . . .

Love is blind.

Wait a minute, that’s not right.  Love is not blind.  Sometimes we want something so badly that we delude ourselves and that is what blinds us.  But just breathe and there is love to be felt and seen everywhere.  Love is vision – true, unconditional love is vision.  Actually, love is all of our senses. Love can’t be searched for, acquired or captured because we already possess it.  I no longer look for love with my eyes.  There is joy.  There is pain.  There is reward and there is loss.  All of these experiences are shared with those we love and those who love us.  None of these things can be seen with my failing eyes but with my heart:

I can see clearly now.

(This was inspired by Carmela Di Nardo – De Genova: 1/9/26 – 11/25/12.  She was a living lesson of love.)

Creative Person of the Week: Maribel Steel

20 Jul

Maribel Steel is a writer, blogger, mother and singer who  lives in Melbourne, Australia. As a person with Retinitis Pigmentosa,  she believes her life is about learning to trust her other senses: to hear, to touch, to smell, to intuit, to love and to laugh.

Maribel was first diagnosed with RP at age fifteen and up until then, it seemed that she was only shortsighted and required nothing more than glasses. Her family had not suspected anything was radically wrong with her vision at that point, even though she could not see stars in the night sky, a symptom of RP.

The following is an excerpt of an interview with Maribel Steel by writer, Amy Bovaird. Full details are given at the end of this article

Can you describe a little bit about what the doctor said, how he broke the news?

As my parents took me to seventeen specialists to confirm the diagnosis that I was going blind, the news filtered into our lives over a period of time. My parents were devastated with the final diagnosis and I personally felt confused. On one hand, I was still the same person, yet on the other, I had been cast into a different mould by the specialists and was to accept the new label, ‘legally blind’ – even though in my own way of thinking, I was not blind at all.

Can you talk about some of your biggest challenges, and any that you’ve overcome?

I think challenges are a part of everyone’s life, big or small, whether you are blind or sighted. The real challenge is not so much the situation that can completely halt you in your tracks, but choosing a positive outlook to find an alternative route when it might be easier to give up. Sometimes life requires determined action and at other times, it requires a gentle grace to accept one’s limitations. I try to find humour in the frustrating moments but this often occurs after the event.

Being a vision-impaired mother when my four children were growing up was a major challenge. I often felt inadequate and held back tears of deep frustration not to be able to guide my children like sighted parents can: to point out letters on signs, to read bedtime stories from a book, to drive them to parties, to watch out for their safety in the park or at the beach, to tell them when it was safe to cross the road. Instead, it became a natural routine for my children to be their mummy’s eyes.

How does your community provide support for you?

Melbourne is a vibrant city which I am pleased to say has made a huge effort to include people of all disabilities by providing good access to public places. Also I am often pleasantly surprised by the kindness of strangers who go out of their way to help me locate the right building or the right door or the right tram. My magic wand (white cane) attracts generous people almost every time I venture out of our front door!

What advice would you give someone who has been newly diagnosed with RP?

“To anyone who may be diagnosed with RP, it is natural to expect that you will grieve for the loss of sight. Share this grief with a close friend or partner who can truly listen to what you are going through. You may initially feel your dreams and aspirations have all been taken from you and it will take time to adjust to a different way of being. The key in dealing with such a daunting future, regardless of age, is in accepting the limitations and reaching out to others so you can feel really supported on the challenging road ahead.

Be proactive in seeking out technology and other aids that can help you maintain a sense of independence – you might be surprised at the amount of helpful gadgets out there. Approach agencies that specialise in helping people with vision loss, because they are there to offer support and valuable information – my little motto is ‘the squeaky wheel gets the oil’ and believe me, it really does!

Finally, be kind to yourself because you will most probably be your hardest critic. Trust your ability to be resourceful, even triumphant, as you face the challenges to see your life in a different light. And as my son, at the ripe old age of four, once advised me, “Don’t ever give up.””

For the full 3-part inhterview go to Amy’s blog: www.amybovaird.com

To learn more about Maribel Steel visit her website: www.maribelsteel.com

To read her regular blog posts go to: www.gatewaytoblindness.blogspot.com

The Toast

20 Feb

by Paul Hostovsky

When Gilbert asked me to be his best man
I started writing this little toast in my head
about the National Braille Press where we all
work, me in transcription, Gilbert and Lisa
in proofreading, where they fell in love among
the dots, reading volumes in the goose bumps,
reading love in each other’s voices. And I knew
there’d be lots of blind people at this wedding,
faces tending to the sides and to the ceiling,
heads swaying to the music of their bodies. And I
pictured the white canes sticking up out of the pews
or folded in the laps in red and white bundles.
And I compared the first time I saw them kiss (I
couldn’t help staring) to two single-engine planes
coming in for a landing, zero visibility, turbulence
as they navigated the air currents and crosswinds
that separated them, touching down successfully
with a bump, then coming to a complete stop
which they held for a very long time, like a lost
suitcase the hands believed they would never
see again. And I described how I loved to look
at the hands reading, and would often eavesdrop
over the shoulders, watching the fingers flying
like the pursed lips of the wind. And when I was done
I brailled the toast and gave it to Gilbert to read,
to run it by him before his big day. But he didn’t
like it. In fact he hated it. It was all about me, he said.
My sensibility via his blindness. The story of his
life. And he didn’t need it repeated on his wedding day.
And he tore it up before my eyes, and sprinkled it
on the floor like so much torn up braille. 

Paul Hostovsky is a sighted Braille instructor in Boston. He is also the author of three books of poetry, Bending the Notes (2008), Dear Truth (2009), and A Little in Love a Lot (2011). His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best of the Net 2008 and 2009. To read more of his work, visit his website at www.paulhostovsky.com .

Love, Love, Love Again

13 Feb

by Nancy Scott

(Acrostics are poems where the first letter of each line spells out a word.  So, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day . . .)

Let go of disbelief and myth.
Only fools seek perfection.
Varied will be the times and privileges but
Everyone gets the chance at love.
Listen and show that we’ve heard.
Otherwise, vows are voids.
Value such work.
Engage the heart.
Late at night I hold
Only your voice and this phone–
Vibrating tongues that will never meet
Enchant anyway.


Nancy Scott, Easton, PA, is an essayist and poet. She is blind.  Her over-500 bylines have appeared in magazines, literary journals, anthologies and newspapers, and as audio commentaries.  Her third chapbook, co-authored with artist Maryann Riker, is entitled “The Nature of Beyond.”