Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gonna Be Alright

 Don't worry 'bout a thing 'cause every little thing gonna be alright
don't worry about a thing, every little thing gonna be alright 
Rise up this morning, smiled with the rising sun
three little birds pitch by my door step
singing sweet songs of melodies pure and true
saying, this is my message to you:
don't worry 'bout a thing
cause every little thing gonna be alright
don't worry 'bout a thing
every little thing gonna be alright... 
Bob Marley

I recently met a woman on social media via a cochlear implant group I am a member of. Her story mirrors mine in many ways. She is late deafened. She is a school teacher. She feels lost. And alone.

She posted a rather poignant message to her friends that described how devastated she is feeling at the moment. "Not much anyone can say to console me right now about any of that, which is why I have put off posting about it," she said after describing an unsuccessful BAHA evaluation for her hearing loss. Her last resort and hope for any normalcy now rests in a cochlear implant.

She's right. About the part where no one can console her. Hearing loss and deafness is a solitary event. It restricts your access to many things in this world. It's that isolation that hurts the most, I think, as you draw back from things you once loved, and others begin to withdraw, too. Consciously or not, it doesn't matter. You find yourself alone in your silence, even when you are with others. 

In the end, it is you who has to live with your hearing loss. And it is you who has to learn to deal with it. Others can offer up tidbits and advice and comforting words, but they can return to their respective lives where they soon forget about hearing loss and what you are dealing with, even those closest to you. You are strapped with a burden you didn't choose to bear. Hearing loss is yours, and yours alone. You can't leave it on the shelf while you go to work. You can't put it in your pocket while you watch TV. You can't forget about it while you tend to routine tasks. It's there from morning to morning. Every day. Every hour. Every second.

To be suddenly cut off from a hearing world you've known since birth is shocking. And overwhelming. And frightening. It's when that fear creeps in that common sense sulks away to hide in a corner, and you are left to dwell on and deal with the "what-ifs" and "why-mes."

I can't tell her that a cochlear implant will make things better. It's such an individual process. But I can tell her that she is not alone. Others have walked her path before, just as others will walk it in the future. I can tell her that she will make it -- somehow, some way. It's not always easy. But I can tell her that she will find resiliency and faith and perseverance and hope on her way. And she will make do with what she has and count her blessings for things good and bad and find silver linings for her hearing loss.

I know this --because she is me.  
And I know every thing gonna be alright.

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