Monday, February 15, 2010


tr. v.
1: to be unpleasantly surprised, usually with harmful effects
2: to be hit from the blind side
3: to be the recipient of something unexpected and usually undesirable

"Sometimes in the darkness, we find ourselves."

In my previous post I referred to this movie, Blindsided. It's an HBO documentary on Jared Hara, a young teenager who has the same disease my brother, Pat, was recently diagnosed with, Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy ("Leber's" or "LHON"). The day after we got home from Duke, Mom went online to purchase it. We heard it was really inspirational and uplifting. So, a couple days later she gets it in the mail, watches it almost immediately, and then texts me saying, "yep, still crying. it's so hard to watch..." . Well I couldn't not watch it so I got it from her the next day. After going out to dinner with Mom and Laren, I came home to an empty apartment. I put the DVD in and started watching it. The documentary's website describes it as saying:
"Blindsided" is an emotional and inspiring true story about the Hara family, whose son Jared was diagnosed at the age of twelve with a rare genetic disease that would leave him permanently blind. The documentary delves into the minds and hearts of family and friends about the two-year long downward emotional spiral that threatened to destroy this once devoted family. In the end, it is an uplifting story about love, friendship, forgiveness, and the strength of the human spirit.

"Blindsided" is a story of what happens when a family is faced with the unforeseen, the unimaginable. It is a story about a father whose depression and blame rip apart his once devoted family. It is a story about a mother who must live with the fact that she passed down the gene that took her son's eyesight. It is a story about a sister who must live knowing that she carries a gene that would render his blind at any moment. It is a story about Jared, who loses his eyesight in the prime of his life and finds the courage to bring everyone out of the darkness.
Almost immediately into the movie, they show home videos. I think it was the video clips of Jared and his older sister, Audra, that got me going. I mean it didn't take time at all and the tears were flowing uncontrollably. Seeing those videos of a loving older sister, hugging her little brother just touched my heart. I remember those days. Of course my brother and I always argued growing up. We're three years apart and were kids, so of course we fought. But I always loved my baby brother.

There are some very touching moments in the movie...
  • moments where Jared's father talks about when Jared tells him that "in not much too longer he wouldn't be able to see him anymore"
  • Jared learning who his true friends were, people who stuck around, looked out for him, defended him, helped him out, didn't make him feel isolated, and understood, or at least tried to understand how extremely hard things were for him
  • Jared playing in his last hockey game, barely being able to see the puck, not even knowing he scored the winning goal
  • showing the depressive state the family went into after Jared's diagnosis
  • referring to unsuccessfully trying new technological things to attempt to bring Jared's eyesight back
  • watching Jared's mother contemplate to herself whether or not she believes she would have chosen to have her children, had she known she carried this genetic mutation
  • listening to Audra talk about how angry she gets, thinking her parent's sole focus is on her brother and the loss of his eyesight, ignoring the fact that she could lose her eyesight at any day, and also the anger she holds for her brother that she loves, simply because she's sad that he's lost his eyesight
  • a friend of the family crying, talking about Jared "not ever being able to see his mom again"
  • and of course watching Jared as he CHOSE to face his diagnosis head on, learning to live his life as normal as possible, learning to play the guitar and being pretty awesome at it, as well as many other things he always wanted to do

As you can imagine, watching this movie really got me thinking about so many things in my life. Which I won't get into now....I just wanted to try to share this documentary with you, because it really touched my heart more than I had expected.

"Sometimes you have to come from a really dark place, but it's completely up to you to pull yourself out of it."
-Brent Smith, lead singer of Shinedown (featured in "Blindsided")

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