Jamie Gibson-Barrows enjoying a sunny day

My name is Jamie. I wrote the poem below several years ago. It reflects my experience when I was diagnosed with RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa).

I have come a long way since the diagnosis and have embraced my new life with little sight. I have since retired from a job of 28 years. New doors have opened within the blind community. I volunteer and am working part time at a blind center in my area.

I am attending city college for the first time in my life and a member of CA Council of the Blind. Many doors have opened since my vision loss as others have closed. With time, patience and acceptance of myself, I can say life is very good.

Beginning to an End

It began as a routine visit. I am familiar with the large black chair I used to climb up on as a child, now as an adult I sit comfortably relaxed in the familiar environment.

Quickly I changed from relaxed to a racing heart rate, sweat forming over my brow, confusion and disbelief. As I sit in the familiar chair, spoken words ringing into my ears “you’re going blind.” Its rare and no cure, as Terror overwhelmed my body. The room became unfamiliar as I try and focus on what I just heard. Do you have anyone to drive you home, I just shake my head no.

You’re going blind, As my mind flashes of no more driving, seeing beautiful scenery, the faces of loved ones, friends disappeared, life changed as I once knew it with three words spoken to me by a stranger.

Life changes began one pixel at a time. Every pixel disappears into a tunnel of darkness as time passes, no matter how much you concentrate, strain or wished. That pixel of sight is no more. I cry for the loss.

Years have disappeared as quickly taking the pixels of light and color with it. Time heals all wounds, I wish for my time, to stand still. As time passes I see less and less. Unknowing if my time will ever stand still in sight. When will the window of sight have an end, no one can know.

Cry till you can no longer breathe, scream until you have no voice, run until you fall, ignore until your in pain, will not bring back what is loss.

I’m at the beginning of the end in sight. When the end arrives, my time will stand still, no longer will I experience the visual beauty as I see you today.

How has blindness impacted your world?

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