My Christmases used to be full of colour and light. But, since losing my sight when I was 23, Christmas has lost its sparkle.
I used to look forward to Christmas — I would spend hours at the Christmas Market choosing the perfect gifts for my friends and family. Whether I was buying or making presents, I wanted to make the day special for the people I love.
But, many of the joys of Christmas have been stolen from me by macular disease.
Going to the Christmas Market has stopped being a fun day out. It’s stressful to get around when there are so many people, and I can’t see the presents to buy them. Now I have to buy boring presents that I find online. It feels like a part of what made my Christmases special has been stolen by sight loss.
It sounds like such a little thing. But it’s losing the joy of all of those little things that made Christmas magical — the build-up of the small losses — means I feel I endure, rather than enjoy, the big day.
Christmas has become work rather than fun. Sometimes it feels like no one understands how much of a struggle it is.
I still manage to cook the dinner, which is lovely to do – because I know my way around my own kitchen well enough and have learned ways to cope over the years. But there is a lot of visiting at Christmas time and I often find I’m tripping over furniture, or needing to ask for help, because friends and family have moved things around to make room for their Christmas tree, or to bring in extra seats for guests. Even those little things can leave me feeling frustrated and slightly isolated – like no one really understands what life is like for me.
I keep smiling, to keep the Christmas magic alive for my daughter, Olivia. But it’s her smile I really want to see. I wish I could see her eyes light up when she realises Santa’s been. I wish I could watch her face full of delight when she opens her presents.
Most of all, I wish that she will never suffer sight loss, and will see all her Christmases. Nothing would be better than a cure for macular disease — for me and for Olivia too.
A cure for macular disease would mean Olivia never has to go through what I’ve been through. And if she one day has children, and grandchildren, that she’ll be able to see the joy on their faces when they open their presents on Christmas Day.
If you share my wish, please donate what you can this Christmas, so the Macular Society can fund much more research and find a cure faster. Every gift will be a step closer to making sure our children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews will see all of their Christmases.
I hope you have the best Christmas possible this year. See my top tips for coping with Christmas to help you make the most of the festive season.
Thank you, and Merry Christmas.