I met Jonathan a few years ago when he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at UC San Diego. We had one thing in common. We were both legally blind from LHON and THAT made us instant family. He is now a staff psychologist at Providence College in Rhode Island…a long way from San Diego! Last week, Jonathan wrote this FB post as a short reflection on his LHON life. I thought it was awesome and worth sharing!
From losing independence to gaining a life worth living | A Blind reflection by Jonathan Deator
“14 years ago today I woke up with perfect 20/20 vision, played some basketball, and when I hopped into my Audi a4 that I was completely in love with to drive back home I realized I couldn’t see any of the cars in front of me, any of the signs on the highway, or half of the street lights. I could say April 26, 2003 was the start of 2 months of losses: losing all of my central vision and becoming legally blind, putting down the keys for the final time and losing my car, losing the ability to just see people and connect with eye contact. But as I looked through the “Facebook Memories” of everything I have posted on this day each year, I have done lots of reflecting on my gains… gaining friends I would never have met otherwise, seeing people for who they genuinely are not what they physically appear to be, gaining motivation to succeed and reach goals in ways my 20 year old self just wasn’t all that interested in, gaining independence by moving alone across the entire country to California and being responsible for the living, breathing pet I brought with me, which in the end is more satisfying than caring for a car. So…now, April 26, 2003 wasn’t the day that started 2 months of loss. It was the day that started 14 years of gains.
My family and friends have been there for the ride – in one way or another – and I sure couldn’t have done it without them. Here’s to that continuing for a long time to come.” (Jonathan’s Facebook post ~April 17, 2017)