Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday

The Horse and the Bird

Last week I answered a question on the subject of:

National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

This time I share some pivotal moments and events in my journey.


Q: What are some significant moments/events in your life that connect to disability?

A: When I would sit down at my school desk the first thing I would do was put on my glasses and the world would come into a sharp focused clarity. I was ready for the day to start. I was ready to learn with my peers.

I loved art and I loved to draw. We were learning shading in our seventh grade art class. I used my dark, thick pencil, like I used to write my spelling tests and my French assignments, and I started to draw a picture of a horse. I needed this darker, thicker pencil, but I was then abel to complete the art assignment like all the other kids. I had been born blind and did not remember what it was like to be anything other than what I was. I had come this far and I had done okay.

On my last day in art class before that all changed I had the large piece of white paper on my desk in front of me and my pencil ready. I had been so proud of my horse and my teacher had been pleased. Now he told me to try drawing a picture of a bird. It was the end of class and I had barely started, only the first outline, of the bird’s head, when the bell rang and I put my barely begun picture away until next class.

A few days later I was admitted into the hospital, after a bad night of the worst pain I had ever experienced, a hard pain that felt like it came from somewhere deep behind my left eye. Now it was necessary to admit me to find out the cause. I would stay in hospital for a week, receiving continuous IV’s and diagnostic tests, trying to stop the mysterious disease that was taking over my already limited eyesight.

By the end of the year I had my left eye removed and an artificial eye made. The pain was gone and the highly potent medicine had been the only thing to stop me losing all the precious vision I still had.

I see this as a turning point in my life. No longer could I place a pair of glasses on my face and find the kind of clarity and focus that I once knew. I had been blind all my life, but this was the first time I truly understood what that meant.

From then on I learned to live without the colour and clarity and bright sharp focus that even I had taken for granted. I miss those things every single day and there was no hiding in the world of the sighted like I had been able to pull off, even a little bit before, but I will never forget that shaded horse and those first few lines that would have been a bird.


Next week, for the:

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,

I will answer this question:

Are your activities of daily living effected by disability? If you’re comfortable, share a little of your daily routine.


12 thoughts on “The Horse and the Bird

  1. Rose F says:

    Narrative like this is a great idea, thanks Kerry. 🙂 I’m behind on reblogs. I don’t think I’ve shared your last post yet.

    • I understand. I would appreciate the share if you get a chance because last weeks post was important to me, about awareness for people with disability employment. I hope this weeks answer would suffice. I wasn’t sure if I could deviate from the answer question format that is commonly used, but I went for it anyway.

  2. I am honored to have shared this journey with you, even vicariously. Such a powerful story, and you shared it in an understated and vivid way..I’m imagining your few lines of a bird were the same – and maybe, in some sense, you’ve been able to “finish” it by telling its unfinished story…

    I’m not sure there are words that really fit what I’m trying to say….

  3. hi kerry; sorry i haven’t been by as much as I should have been. just because I feel busy is no reason to ignore my wonderful friends or to deprive me from the joy i get from reading. this is the kind of honest sharing that is sure to make you one of the blogging super stars. there are so few people on the web brave enough to be this ope, so it will definitely get you noticed. i miss doing arts and crafts myself. i learned macromet at the chris cole rehab center in austin and enjoy it but haven’t done it much in the last few years. my brother michael is the real artist in the family. but my lesser efforts always did give me joy. the last picture i remember drawing was for an art teacher at the end of a semester. it was the classic sailing ships painted on an easel but the ships and the water weren’t all within the boundaries of the easel i had drawn first. thanks for sharing and for bringing back good memories. take care, max

    • I know you are busy and I understand. Thank you for reading and thank you for your supportive comments. I wonder sometimes if I would’ve continued with Art if I could’ve seen to do it.

  4. Pingback: A Day in the Life | Her Headache

  5. Rose F says:

    Hi Kerry, I like to include this one in my ebook collection for Redefining Disability if it’s okay with you. Probably some of your others in later volumes, but I think this will set a good tone for the first volume.

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