Talking About Vision Loss to the Ones You Love Most
It’s not always easy to have tough conversations with people you love.
But finding ways to talk with them about challenges they’re facing can be helpful for you – and especially for them. One way to be honest and tell them how you really feel is to write them a letter.
Talking about vision loss to a loved one experiencing it can be especially difficult as many people are afraid that the loss of vision will automatically result in the loss of freedom and livelihood. That’s why we’ve written a letter below for you to read. It is not tailored specifically towards you or your loved one, but it’s to serve as a guide to approach your own situation.
Today I realized it was time to write you a letter.
I’m putting this into writing because I don’t know how to vocalise it. I’m not sure if I would even be able to say the words aloud. I also have no idea how you would react. But I do know that it’s time to tell you something.
When I was a kid, you were always there for me. A lot of other kids couldn’t say that, and I hope you believe me when I say I’ve always appreciated our closeness. You taught me to care for people and to treat them with respect. You were there when I picked out our puppy, and you were there when, old and fragile, we had to have her put down.
You held me and covered my eyes when I couldn’t watch. You sat up with me all night when I couldn’t sleep because of how much I missed her.
But you didn’t cover my eyes when it mattered. You weren’t afraid to let me make mistakes or figure things out on my own. You showed me how to be strong when I was feeling weak and how to tell the truth even when it hurt. You taught me to see things the way they really are, and to approach them with spirit and drive and dignity and all the other qualities you and mom gave to me.
So I hope you understand when I say that over the past few years I’ve noticed some things.
I watched you struggling to read the paper, and after a while I watched you stop trying to read it entirely. Mom told me you aren’t working in the garage anymore. Dad, I know you. I know how much you love the smell of the wood, the satisfaction of putting it together with your hands and the feel of the grain as you sand it. These are all things you used to cherish, things you used to talk about all the time. The things that make you, you.
And you should be cherishing them still.
I used to think you were invincible. But Dad, none of us are. Vision problems don’t make you any less of a father, any less of a husband or any less capable of a person. I’ve done the research already, and something like 90% of blindness is preventable. But we need to do what we can now. That’s why it’s time.
Just like you were there for me, I’ll be with you throughout anything that happens, and so will Mom.
Remember, you’re the one that taught me to ask the tough questions, so you can’t be too mad—but please, will you make an appointment to see an eye doctor? You’ll be glad you did. Trust me.
While you’re thinking about it, there are some questions to ask your doctor that I want you to read. After you read, think about it and call me.
We know these conversations aren’t easy. But, they’re important because the people we love don’t always take care of themselves the ways we want them too. It’s up to you to help them.
Please share your experiences talking to loved ones about low vision on our Facebook page. Our community is here to support you!