JASON REYNOLDS

writin' and whatnot

Light in the dark

I spoke to my father last night, and he told me something that I already knew. My grandfather is dying of an infection that his 88 year old body just cant fight off. Trust me, this is bad news, but not as bad as it seems. He isn't in any pain at all and is of sound mind. Technically, he's fine...but not. Due to his age, his hearing is terribly impaired, but what's even worse is that he's been totally blind since 1983. So without being able to see or hear while being kept in quarantine, with all of his mental capabilities, his quality of life has pretty much bottomed out.

Yet...he's still amazing.

I asked my father has my grandfather ever talked about how hard it is going through all this without sight.

My father said my grandad has always seen his blindness as a blessing. He says it forced him to get closer to God- to believe things were there that could only be felt, not seen. He said he became a much better person, as a blind man.

That reminded me of a conversation my grandfather and I had about 12 years ago at my father's wedding. I remember sitting outside of the reception with him on a bench. He wore his dark shades and a black suit as usual, and he had his cane leaning against his leg.

"How you feeling grandad?"

"Pretty good. Happy for your father."

At the time, I hadn't gotten to know my step-mother at all. I might have been in her presence two or three times, and hadn't really decided to get over it all, and accept my new family dynamic.

My grandfather continued, "But I'll tell you something, these are the times when I know my blindness is a blessing."

"Why is that?"

"Because I can't see her. I can only judge her for heart. For who she really is. It probably wouldn't have been that way if I could see her."

This is an amazing statement, because my step-mother is a white woman.

Grandad, I'll continue to celebrate you, while you're here, and when you're long gone. One day, I'll even write a book about you. Promise.