Whenever you ask someone who is visually impaired to share one piece of advice for those going through sight loss, typically one thing always comes up over and over again. It is the most common of phrases used for tragic, life altering events in one's life. People say it to provide hope to those facing dark times. They use it as a bandaid of sorts to cover the wound so it will heal.
So, that is this most popular of phrases?
“It's not the end of the world.”
When you look at this statement at face value, it kind of makes you want to go, “Duh!” I mean, the whole isn't ending because you are losing your sight. No bombs have gone off. No governments are being over thrown. So, the statement in and of itself is somewhat dramatic.
However, when people go through tragic events like losing their sight, it can feel like the end of their world as they know it. It can feel as if life is over and you will never be able to function again. And, in response to this, people use the “end of the world” line to let people know that their life will continue. However, I think there is a more honest approach to this situation.
It Really Is the End
When I am pressed to offer advice to people losing their sight, I offer up a lot of things. But, in regards to their world ending, I speak pretty honestly. I tell them that their life is over. Well…their life as they knew it is over anyway. I know that they will go on living and most likely enjoy a very fruitful and amazing life. However, I want to be honest about how things are going to go from this point on.
Most people assume that life has either ended completely or they will just go on as they always have. And, in all actuality, both are true. They will go on and their life has somewhat ended.
Hard to understand, huh?
Let me try to explain: Let's say there is a husband who loses his sight. He traveled for work very often, driving his personal vehicle. After sigh loss, that would be quite difficult. So, His life, as he knew it, HAS ENDED. But, that doesn't mean he cannot do his job any longer. He will just have to figure out how to do it in the midst of being visually impaired.
Another example could be a stay at home mom. She will still certainly be a mom and a darn good one at that. But, the way she approaches things will most definitely change. Therefore, her life continues but something has ended.
Let's Just Be Honest
Listen, I'm not suggesting that we tell everyone that their life is over and they only have darkness to look forward to. Clearly, that is not the case. However, I think it is important to be honest with people in the beginning of their sight loss. They need to be aware that things are changing and life simply won't be the same. However, that doesn't mean that life will be bad. It just means that life will be different.
I believe that if we are honest with people, they will have a easier time adjusting to the “new normal” that is now a part of their lives. Sight loss is hard and there is no way around it. But, learning to face it up front and with honest information can make it that much easier.