After twenty years of swimming against the tide of blindness, I washed up on the doorstep of the Guild for the Blind. Their newsletter had announced, “Support Group Forming,” and, true to my penchant for denial, I had said, “I don’t need that.” “But maybe, just maybe, I can help someone else, someone new to the struggle.”
Turning points are revealed with hindsight. And joining that support group was a turning point, the point where I learned that helping others was the best way to help myself. The Guild for the Blind has become Second Sense. Its full name is Second Sense: Beyond Vision Loss. Getting beyond vision loss is a hurdle. I joined the race at Second Sense, when I got out of isolation and into the flow of recovery, learning to live with a life-altering trauma.
What I’ve found and learned at Second Sense has bolstered my self-respect, my self-esteem, my self-knowledge and every other positive self-whatever I carry around. Second Sense met me where I was—a guy with problems—and helped me feel normal, helped me feel that problems are part and parcel of vision loss. I found support, understanding and acceptance and I find these qualities to this day.
Second Sense, by any name, has been led for thirteen years by David Tabak. Now, David is moving on to other challenges. To me, David set the tone of Second Sense – quirky, energetic, funny and ever-hopeful. David understands what helps people with low vision; in common parlance, he gets it. Wherever his new ventures take him and whomever is touched by his spirit will be the better for it.
It’s coming up on four years since David invited me to contribute to the cause by writing the blog that is “Jalapenos in the Oatmeal: Digesting Vision Loss.” Thank you, David, for the chance to tell my story and to feel how vision transcends eyesight.