Community Quest

Photo shows blind women huddled in a circle stretching their hands out to come together.I won’t be wearing my sunglasses at the bus stop. With Sunday’s time reset, evening hits earlier. It’s the pause before the glitz and obligations of the holiday season.

Home is where my husband, Stockton, and I live here in leafy Mayberry. But part of my heart gravitates to the original Mayberry in Pennsylvania where my parents still live. It’s been over a decade since I called it home. Millennials like me left their hometowns as they entered the workforce and created families. My sister left PA. Stockton and his brother moved away, too. Better opportunities were elsewhere. But relocating is hard, financially and socially. You can’t whip up the sense of community in a new place that developed over generations in your old one. Things may turn out well, but they’re different.

When I gained significant vision loss in 2011, I felt adrift. I needed peers to cope. But just like it takes time to find your favorite restaurant and the best place to walk your terrier in a new town, it takes time to foster friendships over a life change like a disability. I attended meetings of different organizations in the blind community. I launched Adventures in Low Vision to share my experiences and make greater connections with readers like you. The internet can bring us together. Two years ago, the opportunity to attend a retreat for women living with blindness brought peers who I consider dear friends into my life. As I continue to share my experiences, I meet more interesting people. Relationships take time and effort, but they are worth it. Seek and ye shall find.

With the homecoming holidays around the corner, so are gatherings. It’s apparent I don’t have one place where I belong. My extended family and friends forming my supportive base are located across the country. I will be celebrating Thanksgiving later this month back in original Mayberry, but I’m grateful for all of the other places that would welcome me, too. These cold evenings aren’t lonely when warm conversations spark with one sentence, one call.

What do you call home? Did you grow up in one place? How do you keep relationships going over distance? Tell me about it.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Celine says:

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving Suz….Mayberry is anywhere we feel loved!

  2. Casee says:

    Everyone is so busy now so keeping up with family can be difficult. I do appreciate text messaging for short ‘hellos’ and I have been known to book a time for an actual phone call so that I can hear the actual voice of people. You can read so much in a pause or a sigh that a text message just can’t convey. The older I get the more I realize that ‘home’ is wherever I feel comfortable Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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