An Almost Blind Mom

An Almost Blind Mom

In the US, school is out and sleep away camps haven’t started yet, so for the last 2 weeks Josh and I have been hosting lots and lots of wonderful American Jewish families.

This Shabbat, for example, we hosted a super lovely family of 4 from near San Francisco. Lorie and Ron are travelling around Israel for 2 weeks with their 2 teenage sons, Noah and Ari.

I will admit I was surprised when I first met Lorie on the sidewalk by our home, and saw she was walking with the assistance of a white stick as well as the guiding hand of her extremely devoted husband.

On the one hand, Lorie appeared to be blind. On the other hand, she didn’t seem blind at all.
In fact, when I spoke with Lorie I felt like she was seeing me better than most people with 20/20 vision do.
Josh and I had a great time with this special family, and when it was time for them to go, I felt like we had sufficiently broken the ice to ask Lorie what I had been wondering all evening. Was she blind or wasn’t she?
Lorie graciously satisfied my curiosity. She explained that she was born with a degenerative condition that causes her field of vision to become more and more limited.
“Your field of vision is180 degrees,” she explained, “which means you can see clearly from your far right to far left. But my field of vision is only 10 degrees. When I look at you I can see the center of your face perfectly. But nothing else.”
Lorie told me about the challenges of living with such a serious vision impairment. How she cannot drive, or find her way around her kitchen if her kids don’t return things to their right place.
At the same time, despite the constant challenges she faces, Lorie radiated peace and positivity. Her gentle glowing smile was magical, her joy for life tangible.
And in her presence I thought of the blessing of only being able to see exactly what is in front of you.
When Lorie looks at her son or her beloved husband of 2 decades they are all she sees.
She’s also unable to engage in the frenetic multi-tasking which is the norm among so many of us moms. If she cooks that is all she is doing. If she is walking her dog, that is all she is doing. If she is enjoying time with family, that is all she is doing.
And while I do hope a cure will be found for Lorie and others suffering from blindness, I feel like Lorie’s absolute, undistracted focus is something we sighted people can aspire to. At times our perfect vision, it seems, leaves us unable to see what Lorie can see as clear as day.

I loved this beautiful clip about Lorie and her family’s annual Alcatraz Swim for Sight to raise money for research to eliminate blindness.,world%20for%20all%20to%20see

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