Sunday, September 22, 2013

signing in the dark

 


This weekend has been a harsh reminder of how different life can be without hearing sometimes.

surgery

 

It’s easy to sit here behind a computer screen and type as if my life is “normal” and as if real-life communication wasn’t the struggle it is.

 

Except, real life isn’t captioned.  Deafness doesn’t come with a built in Star Trek translator gadget.  And even nice people sometimes tire of the extra effort.

 

I’m not anti-social.  Except… I am.

 

In a large meeting with numerous concurrent conversations, I’m lost.

In a party with loads of noise and background music, I’m lost.

In a luncheon with words spoken around mouths full of food, I’m lost.

With a church speaker with a perfectly placed microphone, I’m lost.

In a car where the road and a conversation both require eyes, I’m lost.

 

So I excuse myself from them.  Smile and nod as if I understand.  Turn music on that I cannot hear to avoid awkward silences in the car.

 

And at dusk.  When everything slowly closes in.  Conversations around a campfire where flickers of light only illuminate every fifth word – not nearly enough to understand the riotous laughter that ensues.

 

Sometimes, often, it’s the little things I miss.


I will never have a conversation with my husband in the dark.

Not one that doesn’t require loads of guesswork, exaggerated pantomime, and laborious fingerspelling.

 

And in a moment that would have been hilarious if I hadn’t already been sad; I laid next to my husband in the dark last night and tried to figure out what he was trying to say.

My hand followed his as he motioned up the side of his head.

And the sad hilarity, is that he was simply trying to itch his ear.

 

It’s okay to laugh.  I am.  The poor man.

 


It comes at a bittersweet and difficult time.  We have reached a critical stage in this years-long “thing I can’t talk about”.

 

I can tell you that it has to do with my deafness.  And how others have responded in ways that were either kind, or intentionally cruel.  But the other part of that story is just how much you – on the other side of the computer screen, who don’t care if I’m deaf or hearing or skinny or purple – have been part of what has gotten us through this.

 

I’m not a victim.  I am capable.

 

But sometimes, I’d just like to hear my husband’s voice in the dark.

 

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20 comments:

Witney said...

Oh this made me cry and laugh. You are such a great writer and my heart goes out to you for the things that happen that leave you out.

Anonymous said...

I luloo sis...sometimes life is a stinky ball of turds. But you can always count on me to make you laugh, to defend you to the jerks & dummies who are mean & ignorant & ALWAYS love you...& don't forget...YOU KNOW KARATE! ;)

Angelwithatwist said...

OH Hun I will admit I couldn't sign if my life depended on it, probably wouldn't talk slow enough for you to read my lips.. but I could write fast enough to keep you in the loop. I would carry a flashlight just so we could hide under sleeping bags and giggle.. Period. My heart aches and I hope that the thing that can't be named come down so hard in your favor that the ones you are having to deal with go deaf with the ringing of defeat in their ears.. I know it isn't nice to wish ill on anyone but ya know there are just those days.. And if a judge happens to be presiding perhaps a few knocks upside the heads of those who did you wrong with that gavel wouldn't be so bad either. ahem..

sharon said...

Yeah, what she said! (angelwithatwist)

I wish I knew you in real life. It would be such a privilege.

Floortime Lite Mama said...

my love - I feel your pain so much
Hugs and kisses

Nancy Jenrette said...

Oh sweet child of God, I so agree with Angelwithatwist!

I don't have the power to make you hear or to make anyone pay for what was done to you. I can't imagine how anyone could treat you with anything but love because you are one of the most loving people I know. I believe that God did not create your deafness, but that he is using your situation for good. I am blessed to know you. I have been richly blessed to have seen you dance. You touch so many lives. I can't kiss it and make it better, but please know that those who love you wish they could. All we can do is love you and keep you lifted up in prayer.

Tamar SB said...

Oh I hear you. (bad pun).

signing and lip reading at night is near impossible. Makes me shy away from places where I will have a tougher time!

Anonymous said...

My heart is bleeding for you! But you are such an example to us! Thank you Lord for the blessings You pour on this lovely person. Be with her always!

Bethany said...

Things that make me long for our forever Home. I'm so grateful for you, for your honestly and transparency. Praying for this "thing you can't talk about" to come to the end that glorifies God and brings you the benefits He knows you need. Love, hugs, and prayers.
Love ya!

Kmama said...

((HUGS)) I just cannot imagine. I am thinking of you. I know I'm not around much anymore, but I'm always thinking of you!

Melissa C said...

My daughter just said to me yesterday, "momma I wish I had glasses."

Oh no,no,no,honey....no.

I have NEVER been able to get out of bed without leaning over to my bedside stand and putting on my glasses. As a little girl I wore a patch. They called me pirate girl. It was ok, I was cool with that.

But, now that I am aging, my eyes are so bad, that...hmmm. sometimes...it's just wrong. I fear night, even with glasses. dark is wrong, as it is scary. blur is becoming normal. I fear each year, knowing that it may get worse. and I cherish it as it is.

I guess, I am saying I understand. Just a different sense. same fears. blessings and curses with both.

It is hard, I pray for you Rach, your a beautiful thing ya know. God's blessings in disguise. we just gotta figure it out.

Michele said...

There's not much that this doesn't say.

I'm lost in the same way, live with the same sad hilarity, and am saved by those same purple people on the other side of my computer screen.

I am capable... life is grand, except when it's not. :o)

So glad I found this blog. ~~Michele

RaD said...

Or PURPLE?! Were you just tryin' to see if we were paying attention? :)

All kidding aside, I'm sorry life's thrown this your way.

Angie Vik said...

Unless you bring it up, I forget that you a deaf. You did a good job describing your frustrations. I take granted talking to my husband in bed. We don't do to much of that. He falls asleep pretty fast.

I wish you could talk about the thing you can't talk about. My mind runs lots of places with wondering. Sounds like it's been an ongoing source of stress. I know that God knows your situation and I pray that He supplies what you need and gives you peace and grace to get through it.

Angie Vik said...

Unless you bring it up, I forget that you a deaf. You did a good job describing your frustrations. I take granted talking to my husband in bed. We don't do to much of that. He falls asleep pretty fast.

I wish you could talk about the thing you can't talk about. My mind runs lots of places with wondering. Sounds like it's been an ongoing source of stress. I know that God knows your situation and I pray that He supplies what you need and gives you peace and grace to get through it.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Hugs sweet girl! We love you!

Nikki Thomas @ Furry Bottoms said...

I wish there was precedent to your case. I wish there was precedent to my case. I only got lucky because I had a brilliant ex-lawyer friend who helped me out. And I had to sign a non-disclosure clause to keep my job. But guess who was first when they started laying off people? Yep.

Whatever you do, Rachel... don't give up. They can't change your deafness... but they CAN change their attitudes about it. That's all they had to do in the first place, to avoid all this!

You're not really anti-social... except that you are. Makes perfect sense to me, I understand. It sucks. Sending you lots of love and hugs! Hang in there.

Before you said your husband was just scratching his itchy ear, I almost thought you were going to say he was doing the sign for horny. My bad.

Danielle said...

I both laughed and hurt for you reading this. I can't imagine all you've dealt with, but if we (your readers/firnds) can be something for you to lean on and gain strength from, "LEAN ON ME". (I'm singing off key...so good thing you can't hear me! I do this on purpose to irritate family members)
Even though I have never met you in person, I care. And I come here to laugh and see your example of strength. You're amazingly awesome.

robin said...

Definitely glad you have this blog and can turn to all of us (friends, family, strangers) to help you through all of 'this.' I always look forward to reading about you, your family (people and horses) and all about your life (the good and the bad.) *hug*

The Lady Wolf said...

I am in the same boat as you are. I wish I could hear what my girls are talking about in the car's backseat, along with their raucous laughter.
But on the bright side, itty bit can *sign* to you clear across the room! and you and he have a secret language that no other kids have in his school.
At least that's my girls will tell me, that they're proud that they know two languages and could carry a quiet conversation and nobody knows what we're saying...
Hugs!!!!