This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!
Today we begin our second week of the A to Z Challenge and I have to say that I am enjoying the process. Talking about myself comes easy, it’s more like stream of consciousness writing than having the stress of planning and plotting for each day’s post. As I write I’ve been thinking about how much I would enjoy knowing more about my fellow bloggers too; some share personal info, some not so much. I like to see the faces and know the person behind the things they write, it gives me insight and a greater sense of connection. Everyone has a story to tell, and I love reading about other people and their lives!
So on we go, today we have the letter H. I will start with one that plays a big role in my life… hearing loss. I first realized that I was having difficulty hearing what other people were saying about twenty years ago, especially if someone was speaking softly or I was in a noisy group or environment. I found myself feeling isolated and doing a lot of smiling and nodding and making general comments because I couldn’t hear exactly what was being said.
I went to an audiologist and to an ENT specialist and learned that I have a significant hearing loss in both ears. The ENT told me he believed the hearing loss might have been caused from by the chemicals used in aerial crop spraying of the cotton fields around our rural home. There are other possible causes too, but the result was irreversible and would likely progress as I got older, and it has.
I got my first pair of hearing aids and I have to admit that I didn’t wear them faithfully because technology back then was poor and you had to do a lot of fiddling with volume control, they whistled during phone calls, etc. More often than not I didn’t wear them, and just struggled to get by as best I could.
By the time I met Papa Bear ten years ago it was obvious that I was going to need new hearing aids to do well in my office job. I had a supervisor who sat at a desk behind me and I had to turn around to hear to her. I tended to talk too loudly on the phone as well, because it sounded ok to me. I got a new pair of very expensive hearing aids, and they were a miracle, like a window had been opened in my life. I didn’t realize until I put them in my ears how much I hadn’t been hearing for so long… birds singing, cats meowing, soft music. I cried tears of joy! At first I was almost overwhelmed with all the sound around me, but the brain is a marvelous thing and quickly learns to filter out things you don’t want to hear so that you can focus on voices or whatever is important.
On that note let me just say, anyone who has hearing aids and doesn’t wear them probably has an inexpensive or ill-fitted pair that picks up so much background noise it drives them crazy. Also, just like glasses or dentures, you have to put them in your ears and leave them there all day every day so that you get accustomed to them and will soon forget that you wear them.
Hearing aids have come a long way both in the technology and in the nearly invisible size. I got a new set a couple years ago as the previous pair was wearing out and giving me frequent problems with reception. They cost so much, and insurance does little if anything to help; but oh, how it is worth it! If I don’t have them in, my world is composed of soft, muffled sounds, which I kind of like at times, but it’s not very safe. I usually don’t put them in until after I shower so that I don’t forget to take them out, and on Sunday mornings when he is home with me, Papa Bear is likely to ask “Do you have your hearing aids in?” when I don’t respond to his comments while reading the Sunday paper or requesting a refill on his coffee. 🙂
There are still things I don’t hear well now… coyotes in the fields, cars passing on the highway, cats meowing in another room, and I still have to request him to turn up the TV a bit, but I am grateful that I can hear and participate in conversations and groups. I have a heart for elders who can’t hear well, I understand now how isolated they feel, it can be very depressing. If you know someone like this, encourage them to obtain and wear their hearing aids… and don’t settle for the cheapie ones you see advertised, all they do is amplify sound, it’s money wasted.
I want to briefly comment on another H-word which is somewhat obvious from my photo on the sidebar… may hair. I like it long, so does Papa Bear. I haven’t cut it in ten years, he trims a few inches off a couple times a year for me to get rid of dry ends and that’s all. I cut my own bangs. Beauticians scare me, too many scissor-happy experiences.
My hair is now waist long, and it won’t ever be cut again if I have control over that. I don’t curl it, but I do braid it or pull it back in a ponytail, or up in a twist on warm days or when I’m working in the kitchen. I haven’t dyed it in over ten years either. It is mostly silver gray on top now but the bottom still retains some of the brown it evolved into as I got older. When I was young I had very auburn red hair, I was told that it matched that of my Swedish grandmother who died when I was very young.
I started seeing gray hair appear when I was 35, and I colored it in assorted shades for many years, even trying out blonde once and candy apple red once, along with darker colors, but never black a least. Papa Bear likes it natural and so do I; he has a lot of white hair and we both embrace our hair and our age. Aging is a natural part of the lifecycle, and not something to be avoided. I have earned everyone of these silver hairs and I wear them proudly! It also comes in handy for obtaining senior discounts at movies and cafes, we’ve been able to do that for several years now. 🙂
One more H-word today before I go… by far the most important one… HOPE! Without hope life is scary, dark, and well… hopeless. There seems to be little point in continuing on. For me, hope and faith are interconnected, you can’t have one without the other. One of the hardest things I had to do in life was to not give up hope when life was at its worst. There were a few times I came close, I will write about that for S.
I now know that God has some wonderful surprises in store for our lives, things better than we could ever even imagine much less hope for. After three nightmare marriages I had little hope or expectation that I would ever find a really good man. I doubted that such existed. But look who I ended up with, and look at the life I have with Papa Bear now! I am loved beyond a doubt by the most wonderful, caring man and I know that God had that planned for me all along! I just had to be ready, andI had a lot to learn about life, love and relationships first. But if I had given up on life too soon, I wouldn’t be here today and I never would have had the privilege of this experience, or watching my children grow up to be amazing adults, or all the other wonderful gifts God has blessed my life with.
If you only remember one thing from all you read in my A-Z posts this year, remember this… No matter how hard or how dark your life gets NEVER GIVE UP HOPE, good things are yet to come!
How do you like to wear your hair, and why? Has there ever been a time in your life when your life felt hopeless? What kept you going?
Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts: