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Sight loss and sharing difficult news with children

Last year I suffered a large degree of sight loss. This wasn’t very new for me as I’d been registered partially sighted for many years through sight loss due to an early onset of glaucoma and a variety of other eye complications. Last May heralded a new chapter in my sight journey as I was registered as Severely Sight impaired, otherwise known as blind.

Number 1 son was with me at the eye hospital when I was informed of my new registration and I didn’t realise at the time how intrigued he’d become by it.

Cut to a few weeks later and I found a little packed rucksack in a corner of his room. Was he planning to run away to the circus? Was he unhappy at school? I decided to keep the bag in mind but not to say anything. Eventually we arrived home quite late one evening when it was already dark outside. Number 1 son was over the moon and ran upstairs to get his packed bag.

“OK mummy, would you like to join me because I want to walk around the house in the dark”

I dutifully joined him as he got out two notepads, two pens and a torch. We went through every room in the dark and finally sat down where he encouraged me to write down how I’d felt as I’d walked around in the darkness while he did the same.

It was a fun but treasured moment where I had a glimpse into how my son was trying to understand my condition.

It’s interesting how we often try to shield our children from the difficult situations we find ourselves in whether it be physical, family oriented, work related or financial. I must admit that if he hadn’t been with me on that day at the eye hospital I wouldn’t have mentioned it to him and would’ve hid it as best I could. In truth it’s so good now that he understands and is able to help me with daily living tasks that otherwise would be so much more difficult.

Should we be allowing our children into our lives a bit more? They already pick up on tension and stress in the household when we’re feeling it so why not find a way to involve them? Of course we should choose our words and phrases well but maybe we can share more than we think with our kids.


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