Thursday, April 21, 2011

Great things about being blind. A stellar role model in her 90's

When I was working in a long-term care facility as a Music Therapist, I helped and was inspired by one of the best blind advocates I have ever met. She was then about 95 years old and had only lost her vision completely a few years before that. She was fiery and fun. When I first met her, she wasn't doing too much for herself. When she met me, she began asking all kinds of questions. How did I get here in the morning? She was amazed to know that I took two buses and walked several blocks. How did I cook? Clean? Write and read? Every time we met, the questions poured out of her. then, they changed from questions about me to questions about her. How could she learn to find her seat in the diningroom? How could she ask staff not to move items in her room? How could she get audio books? I made a few suggestions but soon she began thinking of suggestions of her own. Very innovative suggestions and some I still use myself for various solutions. Then, she began teaching staff, volunteers and students. she taught them, gently, firmly and with humour, how to guide a blind person properly, how to inform her when they arrived and left, and much more. I loved every one of our interactions. She said I had a lot to do with her evolvement just by being a role model. Near the end of her life, she was sick in bed and I came to visit her. She asked to pat my guide dog. I was bringing the dog close to the bed. I was leaning over to do this. Out came a hand and patted my curly haired head. "Did your dog get curly hair?" she asked in shock, "How did you do that?" I burst out laughing and then admitted that she had patted my head instead. We laughed for many minutes about it all and it is my last memory of a woman who embraced total blindness. May we all be so graceful and fiery as our lives go on.

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