Christmas and Vision Loss

Three Christmas’s ago, I had no idea I had Stargardts and was losing my central vision. I have always loved Christmas, the pretty lights and decorations, the frost and the potential for snow around December. Being cozy inside and watching Christmas films, spending time with loved ones. When you are losing your eyesight though, Christmas becomes different.

Things are different

The lights may not look as bright anymore or there are patches missing in the Christmas tree. Shopping in-store can become stressful and overwhelming as your sight declines and online shopping is more favorable to avoid the crowds and bright lighting. Writing Christmas cards isn’t as easy as it used to be and being involved in board games and watching Christmas films can become more difficult. Sometimes Christmas can make you dwell on what you have lost or are losing and can leave you feeling left out, frustrated, and sad.

Focusing on what is important

I find when I am feeling like this around Christmas time, I try to focus on what is really important and what I can still see and do. I may miss my children’s faces as they open their presents, but I am there and I am in this magical moment with them. Being present and involved is what my children will remember and it is what my family will remember and it is what I will remember. They will know that I tried my best even though I don’t see the same as they do and just because I am losing my eyesight, it doesn’t have to mean that I lose the magic of Christmas.

What truly matters

So many people look forward to the gifts at this time of year and I can totally understand that from children, as the thought of Santa bringing presents was always exciting, but I am grateful to my vision loss for showing me the true meaning of Christmas. Material items mean so much less when you are going blind. Christmas for me is not what you get, but the memories that you make and they are completely priceless. Christmas for me is listening to my children laughing and playing together, family chatting 'round the table when we eat our Christmas dinner, listening to the Christmas carols that take place in our village. It’s about getting cuddles from my little ones after a long day when they are exhausted and feeling the cold air on my cheeks when I go outside. It’s the smell of gingerbread and the turkey cooking and Christmas spices, I could go on.

Using our other senses

There is so much at Christmas that we don’t need our eyesight for. If this time of year makes you dwell and feel sad about your vision loss, which I can totally understand, just try and take a moment to remember all of the things you can still do at this time of year and focus on those instead. Keep going, as we can still have a magical Christmas and we can still be present and that’s what truly matters the most.

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