Others feel sorry for him- “I can’t imagine not being able to see, what a sad situation” or “Poor man can’t see the beauty of nature or the colors of the universe”, they say. People assume that without sight, his perception of the world is weakened; his life experiences are lessened. I, for one, know better.
I often get the question “Is it difficult being married to a blind man?” Time and time again I am asked this, and my feelings will never change. After twenty six and a half years of being married to my best friend, I have come to learn some rather valuable things. Most importantly, Harold has shown me that the important things in life cannot be seen, but rather, must be felt. I have found that sight is not a necessary factor for determining one’s ability to live a happy life or decipher the world. One’s ability to see only shifts one’s focus away from certain aspects of life, and towards others- that’s all.
Last week at the park is a perfect example. As we rounded a bend in the path along the duck pond, I described to Harold how beautiful the sun was beaming on the water, making the ducks appear to be floating on a mirrored surface. I am certain he could sense the excitement in my voice because I like to convey the true beauty to him, sing. Upon finishing my description, he responded “How nice dear. But what about the falcon?” I hadn’t even noticed the loud squawking of the falcon to our left, as it called to its friends to help dissect a squirrel it had captured. I know this is a small moment, but it shows the different things I am distracted from with my sight, that Harold can tune me into. While he is unable to pick up on certain things because of his inability to see, I am equally distracted from certain things because I have the ability to see.
Further, my vision sometimes initially distracts me from getting to know a person’s true personality. I possess the ability to see other people, which may limit me to understanding others based on looks rather than character. This limitation does not apply to Harold, and I sometimes find myself jealous that he can get to know someone for who they really are, and not just for what they look like. Harold can read people better than anyone I know. He picks up on the subtleties and voice shifts, the small remarks and quiet asides. In a way, not being able to see others paints an even brighter image of a person in Harold’s mind. This inspires me to dig deep to know the true personalities in others and not get tangled up with appearances.
Between Lucy and I, Harold can “see” all that he needs to. With the dog to guide Harold’s steps, me to guide Harold’s sight, and Harold to feel the world, we make a powerful team. The perspectives of each of us is different, and when brought together, brings incredible power. It is hard to say which of us has the strongest senses. Lucy can smell and sense danger for Harold to guide him around, but she cannot feel emotions to the extent that Harold can. I can see and feel, but am oblivious to things that my sight distracts me from. Harold can feel emotions and pick up on subtleties, but cannot see. Without each other, we could never reach our full potential.
The most important things are invisible; they cannot be seen. Each morning when I rise next to Harold, I think not of his blindness, but of his kindness. I think not of what he misses, but rather how sweet his kisses. I wouldn’t change Harold for the world, and I thank him for the perspective and inspiration he has given me.