“When Grandma Can’t See” A Poem by Elyse Heinrich

Older lady with white cane giving “thumbs up.” But there are other emotions she may not talk about.

It’s hard to admit a loss at any stage. There is a need to cope, that might take many different shapes, forms, length, and breadth. There is a particular sense of self that needs to adjust before going ‘public’ with the news.

The story line isn’t about one person in particular, suppose it was more of a processing of what I heard and experienced from those in their older years,


When Grandma can’t see, I need you to be honest with me

Faces are blurry, letters are hard to read, I’m not being funny or silly or lazy, My eyes just don’t see.

Cards are hard to distinguish, notes written out are a blur, can you please read this to me, my kind dear sir?

I’ll be honest: it’s hard to admit, my eyes are changing, everything is rearranging

Feelings, feelings, so many emotions to swim through, where is the edge, where is the bottom of this huge pool?   Its ok to be excited at progress, new news and break throughs, its ok to not be ok in the unknown, afraid and dark days.

Are there groups to connect with? Others who lived through this before? Where is my will for living, if I can’t live how I lived before? I’m independent and productive. Please support; not do for me, show me a new way or tool, not outright ignore me.

Change is hard to accept, especially when its NOT on my own terms. Even at any age, change can be hard to learn. Like an open window in spring, change can be a breath of fresh air, if I let myself ease into it, slowly adjust, adapt and lean into it.

Be honest with me, and I’ll do the same with you. There will be good days, sad days, meh days and glad days. Can we support, talk, love and learn together? Can you be a friend to confide in? Can we help each other in this thing they call VIP land?

**Note: ‘VIP land’ is my reference and word play to Visually Impaired Person- a made up place.

Elyse Heinrich, learning expert at the Hadley Institute

Elyse Heinrich: I’ve been a Teacher of the Visually Impaired since 2008, and have worked with children and adults with all ranges of vision and hearing loss. I have been working with the Hadley institute since 2019. I live in Milwaukee, WI.

Please email at elyseh@hadley.edu

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