I recently read a newspaper article about Betty Churcher, previous Director of Australia's National Art Gallery in Canberra. She is a 78 year old woman who, after being diagnosed with melanoma of the optic nerve six years ago, is blind in her right eye and has deteriorating vision in her left eye. She is losing the very thing which allows her to live her passion and focus in life: Art. Her way of coping and keeping her art alive is to draw her favourite works of art. In this way she learns the intricate details of a piece of art, becomes familiar with its brush strokes, its depth of colour and may even experience a part of the art work she may have previously missed. And, when she does become blind, she will have a mental image of what that piece of art was like visually. She will cherish this and relive her art work in her mind.
Words are so much a part of my life. I have thought about losing the ability to use words (cognitive function), the ability to write (hand function), the ability to read (eye function). I would be truly devastated. For me, losing the ability to read would be worse than not seeing colour, a sunset or a rainbow anymore. And, although I would be able to memorise a few more poems, how could I memorise my favourite books? And after a while, would I really be able to remember the shape of the 26 letters I hold so dear? Would I remember what a sentence looked like, let alone a word?
What is it you hold most dear? Imagine losing the function of that part of your body which allows you to enjoy what is most dear to you. Could you cope, and if so how?