By Pure Matters

Anyone who has lived with someone with a disability knows that there are adjustments and accommodations that must be made. My husband is deaf, but can hear with hearing aids. When our daughter was born I was the one who had to answer her call at 2am. With his hearing aids sitting on the nightstand next to him, he could not hear her cry. We’ve managed to adjust accordingly.

October celebrates National Blind American’s Day. It’s not a very well-known holiday, but it is a holiday in which we celebrate the many accomplishments of those who are not able to see.

So why am I writing about my husband who’s deaf if this month we celebrate those who are blind? Well, in addition to being deaf, my husband is also slowly going blind. Diagnosed with Usher’s Syndrome 6 years ago, a rare genetic disorder which affects both the auditory and vision senses, he has Retinitis Pigmentosa which is slowly taking his sight.

Under such circumstances it would be easy for him to get angry or dwell on the things that he cannot change and otherwise sink into a state of depression. But we are both positive, upbeat people. Instead of moping, he laughs. Instead of dwelling on the fact that he will not be able to physically see his daughter graduate from high school or get married, he savors the sound of her laughter and imprints in his memory her smile. He presses onward with perseverance and determination to not let his handicaps impair his ability to be the amazing husband and father that he is.

True, he’s been forced to surrender certain privileges like driving, enjoying an evening stroll, or staring up at the night sky to see the beautiful array of stars. But that aside, he continues to be the amazing man I married 15 years ago. He’s a wonderful stay-at-home father, classroom helper, cook, mechanic, gardener, handyman, musician, and friend. For 13 years he dedicated himself to working with junior high and high school teens and has recently retired from this role. His compassion for others is contagious. And his sharp analytical mind challenges others around him with his insights and knowledge and drives him to be a life-long learner. So what is his next ambition in life? It is to learn brail.

Since he was born with a significant hearing loss, he has worn hearing aids all of this life. And because of that, he is no stranger to learning to do things a little differently than the rest of us. There will be many more life challenges that we will face together as his sight progressively gets worse. But that won’t change the fact that he has already achieved so much in his life and will no doubt continue to do much more. I know that I cannot anticipate everything that the future holds. But here’s what I do know: I married an amazing man who has accomplished many things despite his physical challenges, and I’m proud to be his wife.

–Shelley Stanion