Have you ever had a time in your life where you realized that accepting the way things are is all you can do right now?
The advocate in me chafes at what acceptance means. There is a part of me that yearns to be instrumental in change; that other late-deafened adults will be encouraged and helped by the things I do. In the public arena I try to be a good example, a positive influence that stimulates change in access, communication strategies, and coping mechanisms.
As a person with a working dog and one who has carefully counted the cost of what that means, I want to be a good role model. I hope to help create an awareness that there are other types of working dogs that are not guide dogs for the blind. I want to be instrumental in other’s acceptance of other types of working dogs.
It is much easier for me to “go to bat” for others. If it means a sacrifice will help someone else, I do so with little thought about whether or not I should. However, exerting emotional, mental and physical efforts in which the end result helps only me? Well… that is much harder!
When I first began losing my hearing, I lived in North Carolina. I had a friend who had a great deal of experience in working with people with hearing loss. Thoroughly exasperated one day, she put her hands on her hips and exclaimed, “Denise! You are the most difficult person to HELP! If and when we can, would you just sit down and LET US?” To this day, it is still something I struggle with each and every day. I want to “help”, but don’t help me!
Acceptance can be difficult to embrace. I accept that I have a hearing loss. I have a disability that at times makes communication difficult. I accept that I will need to ask for help at times in order to clarify, and that I will need to clearly communicate my needs.
Sometimes, acceptance means that right now… nothing can be done to improve your situation. My family and I are members of a really wonderful church here in Frederick. Our church is “big” on “small groups”. It is a way for the members to really get to know one another and to become involved in each other’s lives on a more personal level. Without going into a lot of unnecessary detail, there is no place for me in any of the current small groups. I’m encouraged that there are “plans in the works” to create a small group this fall that will be in a quieter setting with no children, etc. For now, however, I accept that there is not a place for me. Acceptance can mean to be brave and smile right through the feelings of loneliness. Acceptance does not mean that you “give up” emotionally and wrongly convince yourself that “this is the way it will always be”.
I am in a tough situation with my assistance dog, Chloe right now. A new person in my life has a very severe allergy to animals with fur. It is actually a life-threatening asthmatic reaction to pet dander, and she is unable to be near me if Chloe is with me.
Chloe isn’t a pet. As an assistance dog, her job is to be with me even if I do not immediately need her ears to hear or her “steady stance” to balance. To leave her at home in her kennel on occasion is not a problem. But to do so regularly, affects our bond in a negative way. It’s tough when a “new person” enters your life that you want to get to know better, but you must limit getting together with them because you cannot leave your assistance dog at home a great deal. I must accept that sometimes I can’t get to know someone like I would hope, as I cannot undo all the work and training I have gone through in order to live a more independent life.
Acceptance isn’t always an easy, “feel good” choice. At times, one must courageously determine that you can “accept” the way things are for the present. Right now, “acceptance” has actually caused a lot of heart break in my life… it has caused many a heated argument, frustration and sleepless nights. I can, umm… (BIG SMILE) accept that!
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary