This is probably one of those blogs I should write then delete. Let’s see how it turns out.
I am deaf. Well not totally deaf, but my hearing loss is in the exact frequency of speech. I can hear the plane overhead, or the car in the street, but I can’t understand you when you talk to me. Hearing aids help a lot and when I wear them, I can get by in most situations. Fair enough.
It can be frustrating to me, and frankly to people talking to me, when I simply can’t understand and ask them to repeat themselves, sometimes over and over. Oftentimes Robyn is tempted to throw something at me. The frustration level reached a point that sometimes I simply say “I understand” when I don’t, simply to get past the moment and move on. You can imagine just how dangerous that can be. It’s not just eating something you hate for dinner, it can be much more difficult.
The frustration is that I forget sometimes just how bad my hearing is. I think I can live my life just as everyone else. Frankly, I can’t.
Consider getting old. A man has been the breadwinner and the ‘muscle’ in his family all his life. He is the one to fix things, to drive the car, the one who makes his family safe. Now, in his later years, he can do none of those things. A branch falls on the roof. He can’t simply climb the ladder (he can’t lift the ladder) to pull it off. His son comes over to do it. The father bursts into tears in frustration. A simple task. He can’t do it. He knows the light at the end of the tunnel is a train coming straight at him.
My mother was one of the wisest people I have ever met. She faced adversity head on and simply never gave up. When the time came to place her in “the home.” She wasn’t happy. She fought it tooth and nail. When she had been there a week, she asked me “I’m not going home, am I?” I said the hardest words I have ever spoken: “No, mom, you are not.” She nodded her head and patted my hand. She accepted what must be. Her initial frustration was replaced with acceptance. She spent her last months happily disrupting the folks around her. And loving it.
Don’t get me wrong. There are things you can change and certainly things you don’t need to simply accept. But there are things a ninety year old cannot change. Or a deaf person cannot fix. There comes a time to accept what’s what.
The Father above who broke into tears because he couldn’t do a simple task, didn’t realize that his frustration was also affecting those around him. There was little they could do to help him, and his frustration became theirs.
My gift to you is to temper my frustration with my faulty ears and to simply ask you to slowly repeat things I don’t hear. Hopefully not too often.