I met my husband on May 13th, 2000. I was visiting my grandparents in England, and he happened to come and help them fix their computer that day. He was handsome, dashing, kind, and quite a gentleman. I fell in love with him. He asked me out on a date for the next evening in a small restaurant in Kensington, London, it was about a half an hour away from where I was staying. He told me his name was Joshua Adams, he was two years older than me or twenty-two years old, and that he had one sister named Ashley. After a week of phone calls and a few dinners out, I had to go back to my home just outside of Washington D.C. We stayed in contact though. I would talk to him during my lunch hour when he had just gotten off of work at his home, and then he would call me the next morning when he was on his lunch break and I had just woken up.
Our relationship grew one phone call at a time. I learned that he had been born in America and his parents were American, but that they had moved over on his first birthday. He had gained the posh English accent that those that lived in Kensington spoke, and was English through and through since then.
A year later, around the time of the terrorist attacks in America, I decided to move to England to be closer to him. I moved into the smallest apartment I had ever seen in the basement of my grandparent's house. I got a job in a consignment shop and worked day and night to gain a reputation in this new country.
My evenings would be spent with long romantic phone calls with Joshua. Three months after I moved there he asked me on another date. Nothing seemed so odd about that, we had gone on numerous dates here and there. All kind and polite and perfect. I gladly said yes and the next evening I found myself knocking on his door.
He came in his sweet plaid shirt, his red hair slicked to the side and his blue eyes pouring into mine. He seemed slightly saddened, not to the point of crying, but just dampened in a way. He led me to a nicely set table by candlelight and a chicken he had cooked.
"Joshua, what's all this? It's not my birthday or any sort of anniversary...right?" I quickly told the date to myself in my head, October 30th, 2001. Nothing special.
"No, there is no anniversary. It's not your or my birthday. I just needed to share something with you." He said softly, annunciating some letters differently as the English often do. He seemed to be growing more scared.
My thoughts quickly jumped from conclusion to conclusion. Was he proposing already? Then my thought moved again...did he want to break up? Why all of this effort when usually he just took me to an inexpensive restaurant that had three or more stars on Yelp?
"I went to the doctor yesterday. He told me why my vision has been slightly more spotty, blurry and darkened." He looked at the table. At the nicely folded napkins, and the wax from the candles.
"And?" I asked impatiently, twirling my dirt-colored brown hair in my fingers as I did when I was getting nervous. Was he O.K.? Did he need glasses? If so I could live with that. I didn't care what he looked like.
"Poppy, I'm going blind." He used my nickname that only he called me. He looked up at me again and stared at me as if he was taking me in. Of course he was! He would soon never see me.
"No! Joshua! How? When? Why didn't you tell me before how serious this vision problem was?" I sobbed violently. I got up and ran to him. It was almost as if I was afraid my own vision would be lost, and I wanted to hug this man that I loved to death.
"The doctor told me yesterday that I have Glaucoma. Its a kind of pressure to the optic nerve that causes blind spots and eventually blindness. He says because I got in a car accident as a teenager, and because of the amount of high stress I've had lately, it has all built up. He says I have one to three months to see, maybe more, maybe less." He sighed but tried to give a small smile to relieve the tension. Instead it turned into a sad frown.
"So soon? You'll never see the sky or the ground or this house or me? What about if we get married? What about if we have children? Oh, Joshua. No, please, no." I sobbed into his shoulder. He patted my back and my tears slipped onto his shirt.
"It will be alright. We will be alright. I love you and I will always love you, no matter if I can see you. Now will you love me?" He whispered into my ear.
"Of course! Vision doesn't matter." I cried almost silently. I didn't want him to know the grief I was going through. I don't think I was being selfish, I just didn't know how to process this information. My lifeline was that I loved this man more than words or anything could say, his seeing things didn't affect that.
"I am so glad to hear that. Now, I didn't just want to spread gloom or hurt towards you. I want this time to be a time of joy. Poppy, will you love a blind man? In more common terms, will you marry me?" He kneeled down and gave me a little white box with a ring inside.
"Of course. Oh, Joshua! Yes, yes, yes. I will love you into eternity. I would marry you if you were mute, blind, and deaf!" I kneeled down across from him and wrapped him in a bear hug. I cried out of joy and grief. Love and anxiousness. He would never be the same I would never be the same, but I was going to marry Joshua Adams and that was all that mattered.
"Another thing, I want to be able to see you when we marry. I want to be able to see your gown and cement the day in my mind. If we do that however, the wedding would have to be soon. Very soon." He helped me up and helped me into a chair at the table. He sat across from me.
"I want you to see our wedding as well. Hey, why don't we just get married tomorrow?" I smiled. He must have thought I was joking because he just stared.
Three years later we were happily married and Joshua couldn't see anything. We loved each other more than other and that was all that mattered. We planned to have children, and grow a small family as I worked and he stayed home. He adapted to this world of nothingness and I adapted along with him. But as time passed I also noticed changes in myself and it scared me. I felt like I was hearing less and less, and I worried that I would one day not hear anything at all. I decided to go to the ear doctor, Dr. James Peterson.
After he ran some tests and listened to what I had to say he sat me down in a patient's room. I sat anxiously, crossing and uncrossing my legs, twirling my long hair, and shaking.
"Mrs. Adams, I have a diagnoses. But, first of all I would like to ask some questions." He had a deep and disappointment tainted voice.
"Of course, Dr. Peterson." I was getting shakier and shakier, and I could barely contain myself.
"I hear your husband is completely blind?" He asked. I nodded, not wanting to talk, in fear I would cry or whine.
"Can he see at all?" I shook my head no.
"Mrs. Adams, in simple and straightforward terms, you are going deaf." He sounded sympathetic yet stern.
I wanted to die. It was my worst fear. How could my husband be blind and I be deaf? We wouldn't be able to communicate, I couldn't hear him and he couldn't see me. I would never have expected this to happen, and to me? Why out of millions of people would I become deaf? I wouldn't be able to hear music, or people. I wouldn't hear children's laughter or the clinking of glass. I wouldn't hear thunder or the creaking of a wooden floor. I would never hear my husbands soft spoken voice, and I would never know anyones emotion!
"No. I'm sorry doctor, this is wrong. I think you mixed me up with another patient. I mean," I started laughing harshly at this point, "How could a deaf woman be married to a blind man? Thats impossible. Thank you but no thank you." I guess I didn't want to believe the doctor's words. I wanted to think he had mixed it up. I wanted him to redo the tests and look me over again.
"I'm sorry. Mrs, Adams, you have the remainder of the year to hear. It might take longer or less time. You might hear small things for the rest of your life or next week you might not be able to hear anything. Did any of your parents or any other extended blood relatives have hearing loss?" He asked hesitantly. It seemed as if he knew I was about to blow at any moment.
"Yes, my mother went deaf before she died a couple years ago and my father had hearing loss in one ear." I said, stone cold, trying and failing to not feel any emotion.
"Then the cause was heredity. Or the passing on of genetics. And about your husband, you two will still be able to communicate. There are ways and I suggest you start looking into them before it's too late. The longer you wait the harder it will be."
I went home that night tired and almost failing. I wanted to go to bed and not tell my husband about my day. I wanted to keep it to myself and pray that I would never have my diagnoses catch up with me.
I had to tell him of course, and I did. I told him a year later when my hearing was really failing. I hadn't taken action and it hurt me later. I could have possibly gotten a surgery or learned a form of sign language. But I chose to wait, and it hurt my relationship with the people around me. It look longer than the doctor had said to become deaf, but it still happened. I told him a month before I gave birth to our first daughter Mia Corry Adams.
One morning (a month after I told him about my hearing loss) I woke up and couldn't hear anything. I thought that the house was extra silent. But then I turned over and saw my husband seemingly yelling at me, and I didn't hear it. I read his lips and realized what he was saying,
"CAN YOU HEAR ME?"
The tears started falling and I realized that the silence had never been this deafening.
Always take action, don't put things off. Tell other people about your heartaches, for it may be the last time you can tell anyone anything.