My husband, Sam Campbell III, was deaf and legally blind (as you probably know). Throughout our marriage there were many, many, MANY things that he missed, that he misunderstood, that he wrongly perceived, due to his disabilities. Sometimes he didn’t know I was crying, even if I was standing there face to face with him. Sometimes I cleaned up after a mess he made, but didn’t see. I cleaned about a million broken glasses–so many we started buying paper cups. Sometimes I cleared something out of his path that he would have tripped on. I led him. I interpreted for him. I drove him. I tried to get him to only wash one load in the washing machine… Sometimes I guided him here or there with just lights I put up in the hall.
Personally, I may have envied that he got to be home to raise the kids instead of me. I still have always wanted to be a stay at home mom, but I didn’t envy the deaf/blindness and all the emotional burden that brings. I may have resented his disabilities as much as he did at times, but I tried hard to serve him without complaining, because I love him so very much and serving him made me all that much more a part of his life, his world, and I really thought if everyone knew him as well as I did, they would love him just as much.
Sometimes Sam was gruff. He could be downright scary when he was angry and sometimes he had a hair trigger. Often he was grumpy-who could blame him? Every day was a struggle – and he didn’t see all the people stepping out of the way for him, moving things so he wouldn’t trip on them, and all the other millions of little acts of kindness that actually made his life easier than it would have been without it, but I did. I saw. I also learned to look past the grumpiness and focus on the selfless acts that my husband did for me, made even more selfless because he had every justification for needing more attention than I did. I saw what he did. I never thought of myself as selfless as he was, but I did my service for him in different ways, mostly physical and financial. He was always the spiritual leader of the house, even when he thought I was more spiritual, that I was closer to God than he was. He was always the one to get us back to the temple and never complained even a little bit about going to church. — It is very hard to find excuses to miss church when a deaf blind man doesn’t give quite reasonable excuses (like “I don’t understand anything that’s going on there”) not to go, but actually goes out of his way to attend.
I think I learned something valuable about our relationship NOW from our relationship BEFORE he died.
I knew what his struggles were. I saw them, I heard about them, I even had to counsel with him on some of them. So those selfless acts, even if I didn’t personally witness them, done on my (or the family’s) behalf were all the more beautiful. This is actually how I recognize what he is still doing for me now. I learned to recognize them when he was still here. Call them “Sam’s Touch.” I recognize it now because it feels like Sam. I remember how it felt when he served me before, and it’s that same feeling now. Its how I think you can recognize what others (beyond the veil, and even here) are doing for you.
I think this is why the church counsels you to keep a journal. If you can’t remember how someone influences you, how they make you feel, go back and read it, and then you will know when they are influencing you still. You will feel it. You will recognize them because you know them so well.
The ironic thing about our marriage is now I am the deaf and blind one, and I can’t see what he is doing for me, but I know he’s there. I feel him moving things out of the way for me, putting up lights for me, like I did for him, and I am comforted and reassured that our marriage is still strong. Perhaps it is fitting for him to see and be as frustrated serving the deaf/blind as it was for me, but maybe it makes him love me and to be with me as much as serving him made me love him (and to be with him).
I do think so. I think so because I can still feel him. I recognize his touch. And that’s why I don’t cry as much or as often. I’m not ‘remarkably’ recovered, no, I’ve just become deaf and blind and am mostly ignorant of the things being done for my behalf by others beyond the veil. I see the results, though–I am able to navigate life much more easily than I have any right to expect, and so I thank these angels, my Father in Heaven, and Sam–my hobbit, for lighting my way on the road that goes ever on and on.