Tuesday, November 16, 2004

"I've been cold since I lost my sight 20 years ago." An explanation by my sister about how she has to layer her clothing now because she is constantly chilled.

But I was focused on something else. "...lost my sight 20 years ago." It was like a sheet of ice water crashing over my head. Twenty years. I'm still shaking my head. It's such a very long time to not be able to see...the gas stove when you want to heat water for tea. The socks in the washing machine that you try to match. Your apartment, which should be filled with light but it's not because there is no need for you to flip the overhead on and waste money on the electricity. So instead, you sit in darkness. Internally and externally.

Being blind is horrible and hard. And my sister has lived with it for twenty years.

The first two years Ann had to travel with a ziplock bag because she got vertigo whenever she rode in a car. She threw up most anytime we went anywhere.

Ann's fingers are constantly covered in bandaids because she cuts/burns/jabs them on something. Same goes for her shins.

Six months after she lost her sight, I took her to to the flea market in Huntington Beach. It was always a favorite Saturday-morning activity of hers. She was holding on to my left arm and somehow, I don't know how to this day, I walked her straight into a concrete lamppost. We both fell to the sidewalk and cried. I have never been able to release the guilt and self-anger and despair.

There are facets of good that have evolved out of this tragedy, but the truth is that the loss of her sight is awful and she'll never be the same.

In the photo above, my sister Denise is the oldest and I am the youngest. Ann is in the middle.

This is how I like to remember her. Happy.
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