Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

The lyrics to the Simon & Garfunkel song, “The Sound of Silence,” have a special meaning because of Art Garfunkel’s best friend, Sanford “Sandy” Greenberg. Sandy unexpectedly lost his vision while in college with Garfunkel, and Garfunkel helped him regain his independence. The reddit version of the story is available here. It is inspiring not because Greenberg overcame his disability, but because he learned that he could live with it. He learned that life didn’t end when his vision did.

Last night, Gracie couldn’t see her dinner plate. She could not find her food. After some moments of frustration, she allowed me to load up her fork with bites. Eventually, she was able to consume most of the food—enough to satiate her, anyway.

Her world is going dark. The shadows creep silently through her vision, clouding the present and darkening the future. As darkness squeezes in from every side, the possibility of Grace becoming an independent adult shrinks practically to oblivion. As I loaded up her fork last night, my dreams for her future vanished into darkness.

Grace no longer dreams of being a pop star when she grows up. As she matures, Grace’s desires for the future mature. She wants to have a job, get married, be a mom. She thinks she could be an excellent counselor. I think she could, too. She would be good at so many intellectual pursuits, provided she’s accommodated at college.

She’s so smart and beautiful that she will probably have no problem finding someone to fall in love with her, too. But will that someone take care of her? Will they load up Grace’s fork when she can’t see her food? Help her in the bathroom, help her in the shower, help her when she falls, help her with wound care, help her live her best life?

Maybe someday, there will be a Garfunkel in her life who can help her understand how to be independent and why it’s important. Maybe there will be an inspiring happy ending to her story, too. But right now, it’s hard to see anything except the encroaching darkness.

Darkness, you ain’t no friend of mine.

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