Friday, April 15, 2011

Why Easter is for me

For as long as I shall live, I shall always cherish Easter. For this special season not only brings me joy and peace in the risen Christ, it is also the season that signified the birth of new vision for me. It is the time when I received vision after my first cornea transplant and as I sit here writing this, I can feel the goose bumps sliding down my back and the tears rolling down my cheeks. Ah yes! So many years ago and the memory is as fresh as a breeze in a bottle!

I did not build up my expectations before the surgery. I trusted in God and willed myself to accept whatever came and come it did. The vision did not come all at once and that was good for me as it gave me time to take it all in.

Whenever someone asks me to describe the experience in a few words, my response is: “It was like coming out of the dark and stepping into a world of bright lights. A whole new world and so much for me to explore and experience!” I don’t think that anyone could or would really understand what it meant to me but this is what it was.

A world of exploding colors: bright red roses, golden yellow sun, fresh green grass, skies so blue, snowflakes so white and pure, and most of all the faces of my parents and friends. There was so much for me to see and at times I felt so overwhelmed, just like a kid in a candy shop! I would walk along the sidewalks in Montreal and simply treat myself to looking at passersby. I would watch TV and simply adore my Montreal Canadiens hockey team playing their hearts out! They would eventually win the Stanley Cup that year!

Dad would sit with me and watch patiently as I learned to read the headlines in the newspapers. Mom showed me pictures in magazines. Char, my best friend, taught me how to roller skate and play basketball. She and Jennifer taught me how to read and write and Char spent countless hours helping me to discover and explore downtown Montreal. I played ball and Frisbee in the park with my parents and friends, and the most memorable?

Easter Sunday at Mass at Loyola’s Chapel and seeing myself in the mirror for the very first time. I realized then what I looked like and then I went to see what my parents really looked like. Everything and everyone was so beautiful.

This is why Easter is for me and shall forever be! The best time of my life! The time that my whole world changed forever!

I’m Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and a very happy Easter.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Frozen in time, my favourite memories forever

In my previous blog, I told you about how I have frozen images of my family forever. Today, I want to tell you about some of the memories that I have frozen in time forever! They are all available to me upon instant recall and will never die for as long as I shall live. So, here goes!

First, standing with my parents in front of the Manger looking down at Baby Jesus in the arms of Mother Mary. It’s a Christmas memory of course and I can even envision the flickering candles in the background. Mom and dad are all dressed up and are standing quietly on each side of me. Then in keeping with the Christmas theme, a table loaded with all kinds of delicious food with the family standing around. The food lights up the long table with all of its various colors; from green and red vegetables to rich brown colored meat, white rice, green peas, and pale yellow potato stuffing. Top it off with that unforgettable picture of Christmas lights in the shape of a champagne glass at the roundabout!

Next comes memories of blue skies, a beaming sun, a beach of yellow sand, and white capped waves rolling gently towards the shore and a green sea with boats sailing noiselessly off shore. Then me lying on my back in the peaceful ocean looking up at puffy white clouds gliding overhead and dad swimming close by and mom looking on from the beach.

Next comes memories of the silver Air Canada jet bird gliding gracefully over a deep blue Caribbean sea. The golden sun above is shining on the blue sea and then the silver jet bird drifts inland and I see roads, cars, and greenery.

Then my memories of me ice skating on an outdoor rink. Christine and Jason are with me and we enjoy the blinking Christmas lights. Then memories of my beloved Montreal Canadiens hockey team skating up the ice celebrating the victory of a Stanley Cup! O how marvelous!

Finally, the face of Pope John Paul II on his visit to Toronto in 2002. How could I ever forget the image of him descending the stairs of his plane after it had touched down at Toronto’s airport.

All frozen in time forever!
I’m Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and inviting you to go out there and share my memories with others.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Frozen in time, my family forever!

You’re probably wondering what I am going to be commenting on today and it is very simple. As someone who has managed to build a memory bank of thousands of images, my bank may not be any different than the ones built by others, but here is the difference. Whereas the mainstream person can recall their memories through photos and pictures, the only recall method that I have at my disposal is my memory. You see, I can no longer see photos and pictures. Since losing most of my vision over seven years ago, I have spent hundreds of hours carefully constructing a very special type of memory bank in mind. One where I have frozen certain images of my family in my mind forever.

I know that since I lost most of my vision the kids have grown up and my family has grown older, but that’s okay! The images that I have frozen shall never change and whenever I need to, I can do an instant recall and bring them into full focus. Neat, aye? Now, let me share some of them with you.

First there is my beloved Granny; I never got to see her in reality because she died before I gained my vision. So, I have pictures to help me. Granny with a full head of cotton white hair, Granny in her golden dress, Granny with rosy red cheeks sitting between my beloved dogs Lion and Tiger.

Mom, forever ingrained in my memory in her lovely turquoise dress at my graduation. Mom, standing in front of me in her bathing suit ever so graceful and ladylike. Mom, standing over me putting the eye drops into my eyes and when I looked up I realized that I looked just like her! Mom, doing a pirouette in front of me and a shoulder stand beside me! She shall forever be young and beautiful!

Dad! My hero! In his grey suit at my graduation. Dad, walking beside me on the beach. Dad, standing over me looking on as mom put eye drops into my eyes. I realize that I do not look like him. Dad! Sitting beside me as I read the headlines in the Montreal Star newspapers. Dad, taking pictures of me as I stood among the gorgeous red poinsettia flowers at Christmas.

There are so many others but I’ll end with these.
My elder brother Robert in his pilot’s uniform. My twin brother Jeff in his suit on his wedding day. Marcus in a Montreal Canadiens hockey outfit. Martha in a purple snow suit. Ruth in her sexy bathing suit when she was a teen. Thadd all dressed up for church, just a wee lad. Christian and Jason at the beach as wee lads in their bathing trunks. Gayle and Charmaine dressed for dinner when Dad turned 60 and in so many family photos.

Ah, yes! I can go on and on but I’ll stop here. I think that by now you have the picture. Frozen in time, my family forever!

I’m Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and inviting you to go out there and share my images with others.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The TV interview

A few months ago, I had my very first TV interview with a blind TV interviewer. Was it any different from the ones that I have had with sighted TV interviewers? In some ways, yes.

Firstly, my blind interviewer could not really give me any tips on my makeup or whether or not I was sitting in the right spot or being positioned correctly. Instead, she had to depend on others to tell her whether or not her makeup was good and so on.

In the normal scheme of things, a sighted interviewer would probably pass on some visual tips and cues to the interviewee but for a blind interviewer it is a bit different. Upon reflection, I feel that it must be a challenge for a blind interviewer. The field is very competitive and they have a lot to contend with. Nevertheless, my blind interviewer was just terrific.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. To learn more about blind interviewers, visit or

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The problem with asking

When it comes to asking for help, one never knows what the outcome will be, and for a blind person this is even more true. You could be extremely happy with the outcome; the person being asked may go the extra mile to help, or you may be somewhat disappointed if the person fails to meet your expectations.

There is no predictability when it comes to asking and as a blind person, each time I go to ask a question, I say a silent prayer that it turns out to be a pleasant experience. Of course, in some cases, the person you ask may not really know the answer or they may be preoccupied but there are really some great persons who will take the time to help and find out if they do not quite know the answer.

Asking could be fun or it could turn out to be frustrating. It could also turn into a very rewarding experience. I love to ask and I love to help make it turn into something pleasant for everyone.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to help me spread the word to others.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My fashion conscious mom

O yes indeed! That she is! Extremely fashion conscious and I thank her for having instilled in me a willingness and readiness to take on the world of fashion.

Being blind and wanting to remain fashion conscious could be quite a challenge; especially so when you have to depend on others to tell you what matches, what does not, and what looks good on you and around you. When I had enough sight, it was great fun for me. Mom and I would burn up the paths to the stores where she introduced me to the world of colors. Then my dear friend Helena Nielsen came along and boy did we ever have fun. All of this was when I could see but with precious little vision now, mom has found a new way for me to enjoy fashion.

Whenever she describes things to me, she finds ways to give me reference points. For example, she would say something like, “This jacket is red, just like the one hanging next to your coat in the coat closet.” She is very specific, exact, and says exactly what she wants me to know.

She takes my hand and allows me to feel the styles of slippers and shoes, and when it comes to decorations for the home, mom is an absolute champ! She is the essence of patience, the book of explanations, and the cookbook of creativity. O yes! That’s my fashion conscious mom!

If you would like to learn more about how sighted persons interact with their blind family and friends then please visit I’m Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and share my blogs with others.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Don't expect the anticipated obvious

If I am able to manage my expectations, then I find that things work out better for me. So many times we try to anticipate the obvious, but so many times it does not quite work the way we would like it to. Here are a few examples.

If I go to the supermarket or electronics store, I never expect that someone is automatically going to help me. I ask for help.
Whenever I visit my doctor or dentist, I never anticipate that the receptionist will help me to find the appropriate office. I ask for help but in most cases, help is readily given.
I never expect that someone crossing the street at the same time as I am is automatically going to offer to help me. If I feel the need for help then I ask for it.
I never anticipate that airline staff will help me when I approach their check in desk. I request help before I fly and it’s the same for when I travel by train.

This is what works for me. Others may have various other strategies that work just as well or even better. You may want to check out a few other ideas by visiting

I’m Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and inviting you to go out there and share my thoughts with others.