During the first decade of progressive vision loss, I could not conceive of blindness and happiness coexisting in the same sentence, let alone in the same lifetime. I saw no redeeming quality, no silver lining in the storm cloud of diminishing eyesight.
After banishing most pleasure from my life, I began my renaissance by purchasing a replacement set of golf clubs. I joined the Blind Golfers Association, where I teamed up with a sighted golfer and got loose on the links. I plunked down $45 at the local thrift shop and the Babe Didrikson Zaharias authorized replica clubs were mine. I figured Babe Didrikson Zaharias was a sports legend along the lines of Babe Ruth, but it turned out she was several inches shorter, and so were my golf clubs.
Anyway, I walked homeward, golf bag in one hand, my first Seeing Eye dog, Sherlock, in the other. My neighbor Joe took a long look and said, “You must have one hell of a slice. The 17th fairway is three miles west of here.”
I consider myself a happy person. I have a lapel button that says so. I have a smile that says so. I laugh a lot. I do not consider myself happy “in spite of” anything or because I’m too stupid to realize what a challenge blindness is. I am free to say that, sometimes I hate blindness, but I don’t hate myself. Blindness sucks but I don’t. I do not define myself by my limitations. I’ll never be a truck driver or an Indy car racer. I’ll never be a lot of things. But I just want to be what I can be, do my best and accept the rest.