Today is my Remembrance Day.
It’s been two years exactly.
Every second of it is etched in the landscape of my memory, because it changed my life irrevocably.
I remember that curious feeling of stepping into the world and realising that it’s not the same place anymore nor I the same person.
I remember feeling that I’d had a blow to the head by some force unseen, because suddenly without rhyme or reason, accident or injury, I’m unable to stand or see straight. If not that, it was a poisoning, an intoxication that sent me spinning like a drunk.
Realising that that unusual nausea I’d had for weeks before was leading me to this dark place.
And I remember thinking, after I’d managed to get myself home into bed, that it would all be better soon. Some bug. It would pass.
I remember my loved one coming to help me with tenderness and Valentine’s kisses.
That was when we thought it would pass.
And I remember all the days after when it didn’t pass.
I remember all the days that the doctors ignored me; the loved ones that didn’t come; the helplessness and hopelessness; the tears; laying on the floor trying to move; the nausea; the noise in my head; thinking I was getting better and then it all happening again but this time far worse; the grief of my loved one leaving me when I needed him more than I’d ever needed anyone my whole life; the grief of continued hearing loss all the way through the year; trying to walk up the street holding the walls; and all the people who didn’t know I needed help or how to help. All those little challenges I faced like how to carry a shopping bag and a walking stick without falling; how to stand on the train when there are no seats; wearing hearing aids and crying when lorries went past me for the intensity of the noise; trying to walk in wind or rain; those friends I lost because they didn’t understand.
And I remember that unbearable feeling of knowing that I was going to have to fight bloody hard for my life if I was to get through this.
And I did.
And I feel so proud of myself that I have.
Today, two years later, I’m working, studying, driving, even dancing a little bit! Lately I’ve even started going into quiet restaurants and pubs instead of being scared by them. There are so many things I’ve lost and so many struggles day to day, but I’m so grateful and appreciative for those things I CAN do in my life, and for those people who DO support and try to understand me.
I still haven’t tried lots of things and there are plenty things I know I’ll never be able to do again. My life has been irrevocably affected and it’s not going to be easy, but I have faith that I’m supported and guided and that I will find ways to lead as rich a life as I can with these disabilities and challenges.
Today I’m grieving for all that was taken from me on this day 2 years ago and the struggle I went through all these days after. Learning to live in a hearing world with hearing, visual and balance impairment. I want it all back and there isn’t a day that goes back that I don’t try to find a way to cure it. In the background there is part of me who is permanently praying for all my injuries to be corrected. And I would give every penny I own to anyone who can restore me to full function again.
…but today is also a celebration, that I got here. I’m still going! Finding pleasure and gratitude in smaller things. I’ve found a stronger calling in me to help others recover from mysterious chronic illness through applied kinesiology which I’m studying. I’ve learned many things about myself and been privileged to be helped by so many kind people.
To you who are reading this in a similar situation. Be patient. Do what you need to do for yourself and then trust in the passing of day and night, season to season, sickness to health. This time will pass. You will find your way through this and there are lots of us here in this online community who are rooting for you. We will give you strength and hope on those days when your cupeth has run dry.
And let my words reassure and encourage you that even with severe to profound hearing loss, oscilopsia, total vestibular failure and tinnitus all bloody day and night long…I am living a reasonably good life.
There are hard days…many hard times…frequent tears that others will never understand… but it gets easier with practice.
I wish all of you reading this a swift and easy recovery to full health.
Keep your head up. God gives his hardest battles to his toughest soldiers!