Friday, November 23, 2012

Part A: Metaphor.

Amanda sits in her armchair, feeling the weight of her arms at rest on the coarse fabric.  In her mind, she recalls the familiarity of this chair, the greenish hue of its faded corduroy, the arc of the wooden frame, and the sun light coming in from the window across the room, caressing its visitor with glittering warmth...

Only days ago, Amanda was in a devastating accident that took away her sight.  Having been knocked unconscious during the crash, she awoke to an unfamiliar world of darkness.  She experienced the frightening sensation of all that she had known laying behind a sheet of blackness, beyond a vast expanse of mystery and uncertain emptiness.

Weeks ago, she would have run through this house at lightening speed, maneuvering every corner, leaping up and down the stairs, so familiar with this place she calls home.  But now... without sight, it is a foreign land.  Familiarity lies distant, almost unreachable, behind the thick veil of darkness.  So she sits...

Slowly but surely, the familiarity begins to return.  She learns to feel, hear, touch, and experience the armchair.  She shifts her weight in the seat and traces her fingers along the armrests.  She feels her long legs, comfortable with the height of the chair and the grounding of her feet planted firmly on the floor, offering a sense of balance and security.

So far, living within her new world is comfortable, doable.. as long as she remains here, on the chair...  But soon, she will stand up, and face again the trembling fear and draining challenge of maneuvering the room, this room.  She will stand up, feel with her hands, listen with her ears, will herself to remember the frame of her surroundings.  She will go around and around and around again, until this room becomes newly familiar, seen again through the eyes of the blind.  

Amanda will conquer the unusual familiarity of every room in her house.  She will build a new normal... a new way of seeing and feeling and moving throughout her world.  But the outside world... what about that?  With the outside world comes unexpected noises, busy streets, the hustle and bustle of daily lives.  How does she learn to maneuver blindly in a world of sight?  How does she exist socially in a world of body language, sudden movements, too many people talking at once?

One day at a time, Amanda climbs her mountain.  She learns new ways of coping as a blind person in a seeing world.  She finds new ways to congregate and fellowship with others.  But it is painstakingly slow.

Imagine if Amanda went from the armchair to the center of a busy mall?  Imagine if she was suddenly thrown into a crowd and expected to find her way?  Imagine the bombardments of smells, sounds, bumps and movements from busy passersby?

Amanda's journey from terrifying darkness to a new way of seeing takes years of hard work, patience, and loving support.

I did not lose my sight.  I lost my husband.  I do not wish to minimize the incredible trauma of blindness!  But wonder if the dark void that was once sight can be used metaphorically (however inadequate it may be) to express the ongoing trauma after the loss of a spouse, learning to live under the shadow of a painful and overwhelming void...  It seems so incomprehensible to a world of social culture and couple oriented activities...  (I am planning to write a Part B, but we shall see...)


  1. Beautiful. It's a good metaphor for healing from trama.

  2. Well said Tash ... when does the book come out? :)

  3. day at a are so right. But don't forget life can be one step forward and two steps back...for awhile. It gets a bit easier with time.....soon it turns into two steps forward and only one step back. Gradually the steps come one at a time, slowly at first, but up..and if you do go back one or two you are the very person who will/can pick herself up and start up again. And who knows what you will find at the top. must write that book!!!!