A TRUE SENSE OF CHRISTMAS LOSS OF VISION BRINGS INSIGHT.Byline: Holly Edwards Staff Writer
SANTA CLARITA Santa Clarita, city (1990 pop. 110,642), Los Angeles co., S Calif., suburb 30 mi (48 km) NW of downtown Los Angeles, on the Santa Clara River; inc. 1987. Situated in the Santa Clara valley and nearby canyons, Santa Clarita includes the former towns of Canyon Country, - Dawn Harper still vividly recalls the sense of loneliness and loss she felt during Christmas 1998.
She had lost her vision five months earlier and could think only of the colorful lights, decorative trees and carefully wrapped gifts she would never see again.
``In the beginning, it was really hard,'' said Harper, who lost her vision as a result of diabetes. ``All I could think about was everything I was missing.''
However, through the loss of her vision, Harper said she has discovered the true meaning of Christmas: giving and receiving love.
``I couldn't care less if I get any presents now,'' said the Canyon Country woman. ``Now I just like to stay home and bake cookies, listen to Christmas carols A Christmas carol is a carol whose lyrics center on the theme of Christmas or that has become associated with the Christmas season even though its lyrics may not specifically refer to Christmas. Both types of Christmas carols are included in this list. and just be with my family and friends.''
The Braille Institute of America estimates 2.5 million Americans, including 300,000 in the Southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region, area, are legally blind.
During this holiday time, with all its visual displays across the community, those without site say they have other ways to experience the season.
Saugus resident Sandra Santiago said she too experiences the joy of Christmas much more intensely since she lost her vision two years ago.
``I take everything God has given us much more seriously than before,'' said Santiago. ``Nothing matters as long as the family is together. That might sound crazy to some people into the shopping and the presents, but to me it's all about fellowship, friendship, love and unity.''
A former special education teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District The Los Angeles Unified School District (the "LAUSD") is the largest (in terms of number of students) public school system in California and the second-largest in the United States. Only the New York City Department of Education has a larger student population. , Santiago said her senses of smell and hearing have become much more acute.
When she walks into a Christmas boutique filled with scents of cinnamon cinnamon, name for trees and shrubs of the genus Cinnamomum of the family Lauraceae (laurel family). Cinnamon spice comes chiefly from the Sri Lankan cinnamon (C. zeylanicum), now cultivated in several tropical regions. and clove clove, name for a small evergreen tree (Syzygium aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata) of the family Myrtaceae (myrtle family) and for its unopened flower bud, an important spice. , she said she closes her eyes, takes a deep breath and ``smells Christmas.''
She has collected decorative tree ornaments Ornaments are a frequent embellishment to music. Sometimes different symbols represent the same ornament, or vice versa. Different ornament names can refer to an ornament from a specific area or time period. that play Christmas carols.
``To me, these smells and sounds bring back the feeling of holiday tradition and put me in the spirit,'' she said.
Not that presents don't matter at all to the 41-year-old.
``One of my favorite My Favorite is an independent synthpop band from Long Island, New York. They released two CDs: Love at Absolute Zero and Happiest Days of Our Lives. My Favorite broke up on September 14, 2005, when singer Andrea Vaughn left the band. parts of Christmas is hearing my nieces and nephews squeal when they open their presents,'' she said. ``Their voices are so full of energy.''
Harper said she too has developed a love of the smells and sounds of Christmas.
She bakes cookies that fill her house with the scent of cinnamon, caramel and pecans, and enjoys shopping in department stores This is a list of department stores. In the case of department store groups the location of the flagship store is given. This list does not include large specialist stores, which sometimes resemble department stores. filled with the fragrance of potpourri.
She too pays more attention to Christmas carol lyrics and enjoys music much more than she used to.
``I was listening to Kenny G play `Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Little Christmas, or Nollaig Bheag in the Irish language, is one of the traditional names in Ireland for January 6, more commonly known in the rest of the world as the Epiphany. ,' on his sax and I could hear the words in my mind,'' she said.
Most of all, however, Harper she enjoys being with her family more than ever during the holidays.
``I think I understand the family part of Christmas more than I used to,'' she said. ``It feels better to all be together now, and it's not just about giving and receiving presents.''
(color) Dawn Harper says spending the holidays with friends and family has become more important since she lost her sight.
David R. Crane/Staff Photographer