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Meadowlark Hospice

Dawn's Notes

Look For The Colors - July 2018
by Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW

Cayson, a ten-year-old boy from Iowa, had never seen the red color of Santa Claus’ suit until his parents surprised him with a special pair of glasses that Cayson had begged his parents to buy for him.  Cayson said, “I just didn’t really understand what people that aren’t color blind actually saw, and that day was amazing!”

Scott, age 24, had never seen the color purple until he tried on a pair of glasses that he believed were sunglasses.  Scott cried when he saw purple for the first time.  He became giddy when he saw pink and green and set out on an immediate adventure to find more colors in his office and in the yard outside.    

A sixty-six year old man who described himself as “a tough guy” said he cried when he saw color for the first time.  His family had pooled their money to buy him a pair of EnChroma glasses so he could see color. 

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development installed special viewfinders so color blind tourists can see the stunning transitional colors of the fall foliage in East Tennessee.  The Ober Gatlinburg Resort captured the reactions of those who were color blind in a video when they saw the bright-colored leaves for the first time.  Their reactions varied from surprise, amazement, and tears of joy.

Don McPherson, a PhD glass scientist and founder of EnChroma Lab, made a surprising discovery after designing protective eyewear for laser eye surgeons, glasses meant to make colors more vibrant so doctors could distinguish tissues more easily during surgery.

But Dr. McPherson’s glasses found a new purpose when the doctor let a friend wear the glasses, not knowing that his friend was color blind.  The friend thought they were just sunglasses.  But when he put them on, he could distinguish colors for the first time, and he was amazed!   

Red-green color blindness affects 8% of males and 0.5% of females of North European descent.  About 13 million in the United States are color blind and see colors in shades of dull brown and black.  They have no concept of how beautiful and dazzling colors can be or what they are missing out on! 

Color blindness can limit lifetime choices, making some ineligible to be pilots, train drivers, or police officers.  Color blindness can make it difficult to distinguish if a traffic light is red or green—a traffic hazard.  And color blind people miss out on so much beauty that surrounds them daily!

A $300-$400 pair of EnChroma glasses can add richness for some who are color blind, revealing secrets that have been buried for years, and uncovering colors that the recipient could have never imagined!  One man described seeing color as being like “the difference between here and heaven!

Perhaps the experience of losing someone very dear could be compared to color blindness—to seeing the world in tones of brown and black.  After a death, it may be difficult to imagine that life could ever include color or joy again. 

If you are one who is grieving the death of someone special, don’t give up on life.   Like Cayson, the ten-year-old from Iowa who begged his parents to buy him special glasses, you may need to enlist your friends to help you add some color to your life.       

Sometimes seeing color for the first time after a loss can come as a total surprise, at an unexpected time, like looking through a viewfinder and seeing bright reds, oranges, and yellows of autumn right in front of your eyes. 

Deliberately search for enjoyable moments to put bits of joy back into your life, and don’t be afraid to look around for something new.   If necessary ask for help as you look for the colors!   

Call about the next "Living Life after Loss" Group at:
Meadowlark Hospice 709 Liberty Clay Center, Kansas
(785) 632-2225
Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW, Group Facilitator