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Being Independent 

Our country recently celebrated 60 years of independence. What a milestone! The true meaning of independence is the ability to not depend on another for livelihood. Prior to our independence I would have reflected on the colors of our flag, and it relates to the grieving process, red signifying the pain we experience connected to loss, black, associated to the rabbit hole that we often find ourselves retreating to when we encounter depression and the color white, as we come to a place of acceptance amid loss.   

I want to speak on your and my independence or dependance. Many of us experience challenges during life which takes away from us our independence. I reference persons who are aged, those who have become amputees, those who have experienced vision loss, and those who are now unable to earn an income for whatever reason. Someone who depends on others for livelihood is no longer independent.  Any life changing event has associated with it, feelings of loneliness, helplessness, anxiety, and depression.  

Imagine for a while at age 50 years losing you vision. Surroundings, that you were once familiar with become a memory, you are no longer aware of the difference between day and night except if you reside in a neighborhood that is a buzz with activity, you eventually come to realize that when movement ceases it can be an indication that nighttime is upon us.  Vision loss can be traumatizing to both the person being affected and the caretaker.  

Visual impairment often creates feelings of immense loss or grief, and we are familiar with the emotions associated with grief and loss? Consider the many losses experienced when vision is lost: the ability to see or recognize the faces of those you love, lack of confidence managing finances, the inability to read mail, use your phone or computer, finding things easily, a simple act of eating without paying close attention, walking without fear of falling, or getting around independently. These changes admittedly, would be challenging for anyone. 

Though these challenges are evident, you don’t ever lose our independence. Permit me to redefined independence as “not being influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion and conduct, as well as thinking or acting for oneself.” 

I strongly believe even with our limitations we can still have a sense of independence, as the decision to attend doctors’ visits and treatment to be received together with the trust you place in your care giver are all important decisions you would be allowed to make. 

My question therefore is “What does Independence mean to you given your current situation”? 

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