When Mom became a Christian early on, she made that a priority for us children. While Dad didn’t become a believer until much later, he drove us there and picked us up afterward. My faith grew through various trials, especially while I was teaching in the United Arab Emirates. Family has always been important to me though I went so far away. I call myself a stray button I sew back on the family garment every time I come home. Teaching is a passion with me, and I became a good teacher. God showed me I could teach through my writing and speaking as well as I could in the classroom.

My blindness made me more aware of others with disabilities. It was then I learned about “hidden disabilities,” ones that didn’t appear to others but we have to deal with all the same.  Coping with both blindness and hearing loss has made me more patient, and connected me to older individuals, who do struggle with these conditions as a natural part of aging. It has allowed me to reach out to a marginalized sector of society, share my faith and offer empathy. It has helped me to make a difference in the lives of others.

For many years, my disabilities didn’t have an impact on my lifestyle because I didn’t let it. I made a conscious choice not to let it stop me from continuing to teach overseas and pursuing my dreams. I kept adapting. But more than two decades later, it did have an impact and I left the classroom. But I continued by adapting my teaching through speaking and writing.

I’ve helped others to process loss most by my example and my devotional books. I use my honesty not to gloss over the pain and yet I don’t use it to feel sorry for myself. It’s very clear when I give talks that grief can be found in all these areas and talking them out helps to air our pain. We find empathy in each other – not the kind that debilitates or dwindles into complaints, but one that taps into strength.

First of all, each person grieves differently.

In the beginning, I tell people to allow themselves time to go through the emotions–denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

I talk about journaling, giving yourself alone time, or conversely, about finding new friends, interests and habits.

I’ve just written a new book and have given 10 tips on how to move forward in grief.

Once as I prepared for a speaking event, I coined the term, APPLY G, an acronym that I follow to cope with my loss:

A = Attitude 
a positive attitude can change our outlook on life.

P = Patience 
slow down, things will take longer

P = Power 
we still have the power to choose how we will respond to our challenges, approach them from a point of Power

L = Laughter Tap into your sense of humor to put your grief and challenges in perspective

Y = Yes, to Change  When you’re having a bad day, change your activity. Take a nap, take a walk, call someone who can support you, do something fun or that takes you out of the mood.

G = Gratitude   Focus on your blessings

I like this question. I think people can dialogue without that stigma. Finding a good friend or support group in the area of the loss or a church group is helpful. There are secular support groups out there to help people dialogue. And listening to others often opens the door. People fear appearing this way, so they keep their feelings inside. Being matter of a fact about their feelings enables individuals to air their thoughts and fears without stigmas.

Humor puts loss in perspective. I have a friend I often turn to to ease heartache. He simply makes me laugh at myself. Grief loses its sting. It also serves as a gateway to dialogue between groups.

Three things have helped me live my best life:

  • my faith, which leads to gratitude
  • my writing, which helps me process my feelings and see the humor of a situation
  • my desire to serve others and share how rich life can be

What a wonderful question! I feel such joy that being a volunteer gives me satisfaction when I can help others by offering tips or what I’ve learned. Whether it’s with VisionAware, a group that encourages and provides resources to others with sight and hearing loss, a sight support group or serving as a member of the Lions Club.

Whew! There are so many!

  • Loneliness causes a lot of traps.
  • Being unwilling to change or step out of our comfort zones
  • Feeling we are the only one facing the situation
  • The inability of those in the church to understand our pain
  • Clinical depression

It plays SUCH an important role. The first and major thing it gives is HOPE, perspective, connection, control over some things in our lives.

I’ve always been reflective. Maybe I inherited the storytelling gene from my dad. I love to make people laugh and to get them to think beyond stereotypes. I always planned to write about my travels. But sight loss took over my life so while my focus is currently on that, it often juxtaposes on some aspect of culture or foreign country.

What fruits am I finding from my blog? 
People of all walks of life reach out to me through my blog, asking me tough questions about using a white cane, sight loss, and rehabilitation. I’m a big encourager so our emails often lead to phone calls and positive reinforcement.

I speak to Christian audiences, ladies day retreats, leadership forums, sight support groups, both online and in person, Senior Centers, Lions Clubs, secular groups, webinars, and loss groups. I want them to take away a can-do attitude, that our challenges can be met, we are not alone.

My disabilities have solidified and streamlined my purpose. It’s made me crystal clear on what I hope to accomplish.

Resilience snuck into my life because I’m stubborn and determined. When I had a goal, I used to embarrass my mom because I didn’t give up until I exhausted all possibilities. Resilience goes along with positive thinking and it’s hard to stay down when we are positive and look for solutions. My father and my aunt have been good examples to me. Just recently my aunt said, “We are two intelligent ladies. We can figure this out.”

It is the foundation of everything I do. My source of strength to which everything flows.

I am a member of a team of speakers who talk on coping with various elements of sight loss through webinars. I love it!

My Website:  AmyBovaird.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorABovaird

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/amybovairdauthor