During the Spring 2022 semester and after the home going of my mother on 2/28, I kept telling myself to “hold on” until this summer for some mental health R&R. My department coordinator and chair were both very supportive of my taking the summer off from teaching. This is a break I have not taken advantage of for the past 12 years. My plan was to see my counselor. Write. Be active in some virtual online support groups that included Zoom weekly sessions for those specifically grieving the loss of a parent.
My counselor did not have any openings. A colleague would only see me face-to-face or Zoom. I tried one session in her 4 foot x 4 foot office and realized having a cane and a large service dog, this option would not work. The office also smelled of mice (recently re-opened) after COVID lockdowns. Finn was super distracted (with reason). I opted for Zoom. She said she couldn’t use captions because the organization’s account didn’t support them. I sent her website after website of how easy it is to click the button to make all Zoom accounts “live transcript accessible”. She continued to insist. I’m back to looking for help now. I’ve received 2 emails back from some places that asked me to call for an appointment. I explain why that is difficult, they tell me they don’t make appointments via email or text. ??????????????
This morning I received an email from the 4th online support group that I have tried to join. All say they cannot use captions on their Zoom accounts (yes, even after my kind instructions of how to do so) with the exception of one. This group leader and LPC said she could not use captions because many in the group had heavy accents and the captions would not be able to caption their words correctly and this would cause them discomfort.
An online forum I have joined (the leading grief online forum in the world) told me that I needed to get an interpreter from my state. I explained again that Zoom has captions that are easily enabled by the account host. That was 3 weeks ago and they have not responded to my 4 emails since.
It seems grief is not accessible for many in the disability community. I plan to start an online support group in the future that IS accessible to all. However, I cannot do so now. I AM GRIEVING. I am the one who needs help right now. I can’t help others if I’m struggling to help myself.
So… I’m reading. A LOT. Some of the titles include:
“Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver”
“Disappointment With God” by Yancey.
“Always to Soon” by Gilbert.
“Healing the Adult Child’s Grieving Heart” by Wolfelt.
Reading is accessible. For now, that is enough.
L. Denise Portis, Ph.D.
2022 Personal Hearing Loss Journal