The Gift of Blindness

Ann gradually lost her sight as an adult from the genetic disorder retinitis pigmentosa. In her words: “I went from (seeing through) a hula hoop to a donut and then a straw.” She prepared with classes in mobility, adaption to blindness, and assistive technology. She is known as an advanced Apple Voice Over user, which is a standard feature on every Apple device.

Ann and Monti at sunrise at Hunting Island State Park. Photo by Sparkle Clark.
Ann and Brego at sunrise at Hunting Island State Park. Photo by Sparkle Clark.

At last count, Ann finds she has at least sixteen senses. Examples are the sense of memory, sense of organization, sense of concentration, sense of movement, sense of location, and sense of humor. These senses learned over time have brought her immense pleasure and gratification as well as admiration from her friends and family. Now, Ann considers blindness a gift.

If offered sight, she’s not sure she’d take it: “I’ve worked too hard to cross over into blindness. I have the privilege of interdependence.” She writes about the process and adjustment to blindness in her essay and poem, “My Blind Obsession,” in which she writes: “blindness and I have drawn blood. I chased it out of my yard, but it would not go away, so we shook hands and became friends,” the poem continues, “Now, I sense the signature of a stride, voices as distinct as thumbprints…”

Ann’s Guide Dogs

Ann has teamed up with two guide dogs, from Southeastern Guide Dogs. Brego and Monti have been indispensable, dedicated partners to Ann and they’ve shared many adventures.