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My cousin Shana did a Power Point presentation on loss for her sociology class and decided to interview her father, who lost both his parents and brother (my grandfather) all in 7 months time and also interviewed me(!!!) on my hearing loss. Here's what went down via e-mail:

Her questions:
1.What was loss ?
2.What is the source of the pain of loss?
3.How did you feel at the time (of loss)
4. Since the loss, how have your feelings about the loss changed?
5. What are your current reflections on past feelings?

1. Loss of hearing/Deafness

2. I never felt I lost my hearing as much I lost my form of communication. A lot of the time I'm left keeping things to myself because there isn't anyone around who understands me or people don't say anything to me because I can't understand them.

Only my mom, little sister Angelina (who's 9) and my best friend, Meghan, know sign language. When I'm with any of them we have long and regular conversations. It's fun and effortless, but when talking with anyone else we are left with a dry-erase board to write out what we are saying. It's time consuming and tiring.

I know my deafness has hindered the relationship between me and my father.Although my father and I love each other so-so much, we are often left angry and frustrated because we can't communicate thoroughly. He knows some signs but not enough to hold a conversation with me.
My brother and I have always been very close, we use to just hang out and talk all the time, but we don't have the same retlationship anymore. He tries and I try, but it's not the same.

Whenever there is a big group discussion, I'm often put out and left feeling small.My mother tries her best to translate for me but's sometimes hard for her when she's in the discussion herself. Before I was always in on conversation and would put in my opinon but now it feels like I lost my voice. I'm often left thinking, "What the hell is going on?"

With my illness I often see different doctors, and since going deaf the doctors don't even speak to me or ask me questions although I'm the patient. It's just easier for them to talk and ask questions to my father who brought me then to write everything out for me to read. I'm left sitting there without a clue to what's going on. It gets me so frustrated -ask me. Who knows more about me than me? This certainly wasn't a problem when I was hearing.

I always used school and work as a form of socialization; a place to meet new friends but after going deaf that wasn't the case. Once I started college I needed the school's deaf services to help me during classes with included CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation). I had a older woman sitting next to me behind a court reporting machine taking notes on everything that was said. As I sat behind a lap-top reading everything she would type. We had to sit up front for her to hear clearly, so everyone could see. It automatically created a barrier between me and my classmates. No one talked to me; I was stamped as "The Deaf Girl" I don't have any deaf friends, it's very lonely.

It's communication.

But it's great that we now live in a digital age. I text on my phone and use AIM: Instant Messenger everytime I'm oniine to chat with friends. Yet YouTube is a very popular site on the internet, but most of the videos on there aren't captioned therefore I can't understand them. It's a bother.

3. I was 14 when I was told I was most likely going to lose my hearing (due to NF) from my neurologist at the time, Dr Aizik Wolf around September of 2000. I was in complete shock and disbelief but didn't show any emotion till I got home and was alone in my room. That's when/where I began sobbing and began asking myself, "What am I going to do? I'm never even going to hear my mother's voice again." I have always been into music and I remember putting on U2's "One" on my stereo and crying my eyes out -not because the song makes me sad but because I loved it and was going to miss it. I became completely Deaf in 2007. I was 21, and by then I already knew what was happening.

When I was first told I was going deaf, I never shared iwith my friends what was going on. I wanted to act and be like a normal teenage girl; wrapped up in school and boys. Middle school and high school is all about cliques and labels. I didn't want to be seen as my illness or my potential hearing loss. So for a long time, I'd say till 2005 when I was 19, I kept it to myself.

4. My hearing loss was gradual for me so I had a few years to accept it, and by the time it did I was pretty much okay with it. I always loved music so I made it a personal goal of mine to go see/hear every band that played my area. And by the time I became Deaf I had already went to every concert I wanted (even if that calls for driving all the way to Tampa to see Coldplay and Fiona Apple) My mother and I, along with my best friend, went to a few sign language courses around 2005 to learn sign. So when I did go Deaf we could still communicate. Plus my memory is top-notch, so when my mother "speaks" to be in sign language, I read it in her voice. That also calls for when I see music videos or concerts on TV. If the captions on the television tell me the lyrics and I know the song then I can sing along -and will.

5. I began seeing a therapist Dr. Shana Williams, who specializes in deafness around 2005-2006. Although she was hearing, she ued sign language or would type on the computer for me to read what she was saying.

She told me that I needed to treat my hearing loss as a death, and I did. I mourned. It was sad, but after, about 2 years later when everything went completely silent, I was okay with it. I was okay with my deafness.

-She sent me the finished product of her ppt and I wanted to post it on here but can't figure it out. What's with you, LJ?

An actual update maybe sometime soon. A lot of crap has happened therefore I have A LOT to say.